The Lesson

An aging piano instructor learns a shocking discovery about his student.

  • Donald Jacob Cadman
  • Donald Jacob Cadman
  • Cassandra Kulish
  • Kathryn Riley
  • Paul Warner
    Key Cast
  • Will Jevon
    Key Cast
  • Jonathan Turner
    Director of Photography
  • Imani Jones
  • Donald Cadman
  • Raphael Whalen
  • Will Jevon
  • Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Sabur Tahir
    Assitant Directors
  • Lily Farizon
    Assitant Directors
  • Jacob Robichaeu
    Assistant Camera
  • Asma Nobari Khoshmehr
    Lighting Design
  • Kuzco Gong
    Key Grip
  • James Blair
    Sound Mixing
  • Larisa Saveli
    Stunt Coordinator
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Drama, Suspense
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes 36 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 24, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    4,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Emerson College
Director Biography - Donald Jacob Cadman

Donnie Cadman is based outside of Boston, Massachusetts. A graduate from Emerson College's School of Film & Media Art, he earned an MFA for his thesis film, The Lesson. His recent film projects include the music video SAVE ME, produced by Dane Blake, and collaboration on the short films Gone and Dearests, both directed by Tyler Coon. Donnie has previously worked with Molly Loughman on her film Pete's Playlist as editor. He is currently the co-producer for the upcoming documentary El Colmadon directed by Michael Bueno, and script supervisor for the short The Homefront by Molly Loughman.

Donnie utilizes film to visually captivate people's imaginations as well as reconcile our individual truths. He hopes this will motivate others to create positive change. Donnie has nothing but thanks and gratitude for his family, friends, and mentors who have helped and believed in his vision.

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Director Statement

I seek to write and directs stories that unite people and embrace who they are. I ask my audience to overcome their challenges and encourage them to rise beyond what is typically deemed as possible.

Alternate viewpoints encourage me to communicate my perspective through various lenses and intertwine complex themes in my storytelling. Filmmaking encourages me to embrace my personality and thought process – as I am primarily a visual thinker – which pushes my boundaries even further. It is only when I leave my comfort zone that I can grow personally and professionally in a career which requires one to connect and communicate.

I believe that film can reveal our potential as human beings, as well as confront the foibles of human nature and the larger social order. I observe these dual perspectives simultaneously when I analyze films and craft narratives that are either fiction or documentary, fantastical or realistic. Film is a medium physically dependent on the duality of light and darkness as they create intermediary worlds of sight and sound to replicate our real world. That way when we return to it, we are better equipped to confront our present moment. I firmly believe films should unveil our history of inequalities, toxic behaviors, and self-centeredness, yet they should also show our individual endurance and compassion as we attempt to better ourselves and our communities.

As a member of the film community, I encourage spectators to open themselves to other experiences and ideas on whether they challenge or validate, as well as be able to think rationally and vulnerably as they express their fears and hopes.