Da Capo

Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Drama, Music

Nate LeVan

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $24,690 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

102 supporters | followers

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DA CAPO is a proof of concept short film set in the competitive world of classical music and centers around HENRY SATO, a former virtuosic pianist who must relearn to play the piano after succumbing to a freak accident. Tonally, it will play like WHIPLASH meets MILLION DOLLAR BABY.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

Henry's journey represents the struggles and sacrifices of not only artists -- but artists with disabilities. Through his story, I want to provide a voice to those who have to overcome both mental and physical impairments on their journey of being an artist.

The Story


A year after becoming a paraplegic and losing his upper body motor functions due to a tragic car accident, HENRY has returned to the Amadeo School of Music to try and become the prodigy pianist he once was. As a result, he spends every night in the practice room trying to re-learn Chopin’s Scherzo No.1 in B Minor Op. 20 -- a piece he wishes to play at his upcoming school competition. During one of his practice sessions, a janitor (MARTIN), interrupts Henry's struggles to tell him he has to turn off the lights to the building. Henry becomes frustrated and asks Martin to leave the lights on -- however, Martin turns them off anyway.

The following night, Henry's back at it -- continuing to practice and mess up on Chopin's Scherzo No. 1. Martin shows up to inform Henry once again, he has to shut off the lights. In a burst of anger, Henry challenges Martin -- which leads Martin to ask why Henry has chosen to come back and put himself through all this grueling practice. Henry responds by saying he returned to become the concert pianist he has always strived to be. Dissatisfied with this answer, Martin turns off the lights on Henry again.

We then enter a brief montage where Henry continues to practice the Scherzo to Martin's disapproval. After that, we cut to the school competition where Henry is finally ready to play in front of a crowd (or so he thinks). As Henry begins to perform in the competition, he allows his insecurities and doubts to get the best of him -- resulting in a series of mistakes. Eventually, the blunders add up and cause Henry to experience a full on panic attack on stage. He is forced to stop playing as anxiety and an impending sense of doom overtake him...

Later that night, Henry has returned to the practice room -- but this time he is there to destroy the piano with a hammer. Ready to give up all his hopes and aspirations of becoming a concert pianist again....

....But before Henry can commit this heartless act, Martin appears and tells Henry to play the "first song that made you happy to be a pianist." Despite Henry's confusion, Martin keeps up the request until Henry admits that the piece was Clair de Lune. In a final push, Martin plays the first few measures of Clair de Lune -- prompting Henry to play it afterwards. As Henry hits the notes of the piece, he's given a nostalgic trip down memory lane which ultimately leads to a catharsis of all his pain and embarrassment. Following Henry's finishing of the song, Martin informs Henry that he will leave the lights on for him.

Why Now

A disabled artist struggling to achieving their life goals is something that has hardly been touched upon through the mediums of film and television. With this short film, I want to give a voice to this underrepresented community and provide them with a way to see themselves as the heroes of their own worlds. It is extremely important that people from all different backgrounds can identify with the characters we see on screen -- as they more often than not, influence how we see the real world.

The Big Picture

With your donations, you will help bring this story to life in both tangible and intangible ways.

Tangibly, you will be providing the funds necessary for my team and I to execute on making this an amazing short film. Coming up with a good idea is definitely a crucial step in the creative process -- however, a good idea cannot turn into something great without the necessary finances and hard work behind it. Your donations will go directly into funding locations, hiring a cast and crew, obtaining production insurance, equipment rentals, finishing funds and much much more! In essence, your generosity will give my team and I the crucial tools we need to turn the script into both an entertaining and moving film full of heart. Logistically, we plan to shoot the film over 3 days in June 2024.

Intangibly, your support for my team and I goes far beyond the dollar amount you choose to donate. Knowing that I have family and friends that believe in my voice as a filmmaker and this project that I have poured my blood, sweat and tears into means the absolute world to me. I am so privileged to have a network which I can call on to support me and my dream to tell stories through film. Thank you so much for your generosity and assistance in helping me bring my vision to life!


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Equipment Rentals

Costs $8,000

Includes the necessary equipment (camera, lights, sound etc) we will in the production of the film


Costs $5,000

Includes the necessary rental fees associated with being able to shoot in specific locations (music school and concert hall)

Cast and Crew Expenses

Costs $7,000

Includes paying the cast and crew of the film

Finishing Funds

Costs $7,500

Includes the necessary expenses of post-production (editing, color, sound, VFX and application fees for the film festival circuit)

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Insurance and Permits

Costs $2,500

Includes film permits and insurance necessary to ensure a smooth and safe production

About This Team


Nate LeVan is a filmmaker who likes to tell character driven stories about unlikely heroes. Growing up, he often felt like an outsider who was never naturally afforded the limelight. After struggling with this identity for years, he has learned to embrace it -- and thus, now aims to provide underdog characters the chance to overcome their own obstacles on screen.

After being raised as a product of the Chicago suburbs and then attending Northwestern University, Nate currently resides in Los Angeles. 

Some filmmakers that have influenced him include William Wyler, Howard Hawks, Akira Kurosawa, Charlie Chaplin, Brian De Palma and Billy Wilder.


Sam Shapiro's background is in Film, TV, and Commercial development and production. Sam has coordinated, production managed, and produced national commercial & corporate video, independent features, festival award winning short films, and music videos. Before that, he spent years as a line producer’s assistant in studio television on acclaimed series For All Mankind & Hacks. 

Sam hails from New Jersey and studied Communications and Entrepreneurship at Syracuse University. Sam started his production company, Dream Shepherd Productions, with the goal of shepherding dreams for others - championing stories, amplifying voices, and cheering people on every step of the way.

Director of Photography

Evan Weidenkeller is an esteemed award-winning cinematographer based in the vibrant city of Los Angeles. Evan's passion for capturing stunning visuals is evident through his extensive training, having studied Cinematography at San Francisco State University and obtaining his MFA in Cinematography from the distinguished American Film Institute Conservatory.

His impressive body of work has been recognized and exhibited at some of the most prestigious film festivals worldwide, including Cannes, Palm Springs International, and TIFF. Evan's exceptional creative collaboration and ability to use light sensitively have made him a renowned figure in the industry, skillfully bringing a director's vision to life in a variety of commercial, documentary, and narrative works. 

Piano Consultant

Thomas Filipiuk is piano performance major at Northwestern's Bienen School of Music. He has been playing the piano competitively for over 13 years and is currently applying to graduate piano programs at Juillard, Yale and Peabody. Being his first time working with a film production, Thomas is very excited to help bring the character of Henry to life.

Current Team