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Mr Mergler's Gift

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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, Oscar-winning filmmaker Beverly Shaffer crafts a film of elegant simplicity and deep emotion, gracefully documenting a dying man's dedication to his young prodigy.

2004, 30 min 39 s

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Honourable Mention
Reel World Film Festival
April 19 to 23 2006, Toronto - Canada

2nd Prize - Documentary Film or Video
International Children's Film Festival
October 27 to November 6 2005, Chicago - USA