Beverly Shaffer

Beverly Shaffer's internationally-respected films have garnered over 40 awards during her career at the National Film Board, including an Oscar® for her sensitive portrayal of a disabled young girl in I'll Find a Way (1978).

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Short listed for Academy Award© Best Documentary Short 2005


The girl sits at the piano and plays the opening bars of Für Elise. Daniel Mergler has heard the Beethoven bagatelle countless times over the decades, but this is different. He listens with surprise, and delight lights up the old man's eyes.

The young pianist is Xin Ben, the 9-year-old daughter of Chinese immigrants. Fate has brought her to Mr Mergler, a music teacher whose career is drawing to a close.

Mr Mergler's Gift is their remarkable story--a moving account of a student and her mentor, and a lyrical homage to the transcendent power of music.

They will meet for less than a year--twenty-six lessons that change her life and his. Xin Ben illuminates his final months with her youthful talent, and in return he lovingly guides her towards a life in music.

With a light touch and sure hand, Oscars®-winning filmmaker Beverly Shaffer crafts a film of elegant simplicity and deep emotion, gracefully documenting a dying man's dedication to his young prodigy.


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Director Beverly Shaffer
Producer Germaine Ying Gee Wong
Editing Benjamin Duffield
Cinematography Andrei Khabad, Thomas Vamos
Additional cinematography Alberto Feio, Stefan Nitoslawski
Sound recording Jean-Denis Daoust, Pierre Fleurant, Marcel Fraser, Craig Lapp, Richard Lavoie
Camera assistant Martine Leclerc
Sound editing Don Ayer
Executive producer Sally Bochner
Participants Daniel Mergler, Xin Ben Yu, Yonghong Yu, Hongyu Lei, Alexandre Solopov, Harold Hoffman