Piano Lessons

Nancy’s late for an appointment, and she’s lost the address. Yet her surroundings look oddly familiar. With the help of her beloved granddaughter Alex, Nancy must learn to navigate the strange new territory she finds herself in. Piano Lessons is a fifteen-minute short film that insightfully and empathically depicts the experience of people with age-related dementia.

Adapted from the short story In Sight of the Lake by Alice Munro, Piano Lessons was co-written and directed by Dr. Marlene Goldman and Philip McKee, and produced by Dr. Goldman. Drawing on Dr. Goldman’s extensive research in the field, the film presents a new and important person-centred perspective, emphasizing not the cognitive decline in people with late-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s but the capacity for meaningful relationships and the knowledge that endures.

Released in early 2017, Piano Lessons was presented at select festivals, including the Toronto International Film Festival short film program, and screenings remain available for clinicians, care givers, and people with dementia. Regardless of venue, the film serves as both compelling viewing and an educational tool.

Piano Lessons stars Nancy Beatty, David Storch, Beatriz Yuste, and Rebecca Gelgor, with music by Chris Thornborrow, composer for the award-winning Canadian feature film Sleeping Giant. The project has received the support of the Munro family and is endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association of Canada.