a film by Thomas Lennon



The Film

A new documentary about reentry, second chances, and the healing power of good food.

What does it take to build a world-class French restaurant? What if the staff is almost entirely men and women just out of prison? What if most have never cooked or served before, and have barely two months to learn their trade?

Knife Skills follows the hectic launch of Edwins restaurant in Cleveland. In this improbable setting, with its mouth-watering dishes and its arcane French vocabulary, we discover the challenges of men and women finding their way after their release. We come to know three trainees intimately, as well as the restaurant’s founder, who is also dogged by his past. These men and women all have something to prove, and all struggle to launch new lives, an endeavor as pressured and perilous as the ambitious restaurant launch of which they are a part.


The Team

Thomas Lennon (Director/Producer/DP)

Thomas Lennon’s work in documentary film has earned him an Academy Award and three Oscar nominations. He is also the recipient of two duPont-Columbia Awards, two national Emmys, two Peabodys, and two films that premiered at Sundance. Lennon (along with editor Nick August-Perna) recently completed Sacred, which draws on the contributions of more than 40 filmmakers around the world to explore the role of prayer and ritual in daily life. He founded, with Ruby Yang, the China AIDS Media Project; their AIDS awareness messages were seen over a billion times on Chinese television and the Internet, making it probably the most far-reaching AIDS media campaign ever created.



Nick August-Perna (Editor/Co-Producer)

Nick August-Perna is a New York–based filmmaker and documentary editor. His projects have enjoyed international theatrical release, and aired on National Geographic, PBS, and HBO. Among the works he has edited, directed, or produced: Colliding Dreams, a three-hour history of Zionism that opened in theaters in March 2016; a 2012 documentary for National Geographic on the world’s polluted oceans; and The Swell Season, a 2011 feature-length documentary about Academy Award-winning musicians Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova that won awards internationally and was released theatrically in the U.S. and overseas. Nick also edited the Emmy-nominated short film Delano Manongs: Forgotten History of the United Farmworkers.



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