Director’s Statement

In Pursuit of Silence is a meditative film about a subject that many have tried to encapsulate in some form or another for ages. Rather than encapsulate we’ve tried in a sense to free it, paying homage to the ineffable qualities of silence.

The film was shot and edited in a way that mimics our experience of the world when we are still; you won’t see any crane moves, sweeping drone shots, or pans. The overall rhythm of the film was carefully crafted with the human metabolism in mind.

The film also uses silence’s opposite to invite viewers into a deeper understanding of silence. As Susan Sontag writes, “not only does silence exist in a world full of speech and other sounds, but any given silence takes its identity as a stretch of time being perforated by sound.” What silence also does is it teaches us to be more cognizant of the sounds we do make. As theologian Henri Nouwen writes, “silence teaches us to speak.” When we’re not silent the hope is that silence has taught us to be more careful and thoughtful with the sound we do make, with the sound we lay on top of that silence. The film was created in very much the same way in that every word spoken and every note of music was carefully considered and delicately weaved into the foundation of silence that underlies the entire piece. Ultimately, I hope that the film challenges audiences to slow down and on some level make the world new again for them.

-Patrick Shen

For more insight into the filmmaking process read Form out of Formlessness from the forthcoming book Notes on Silence or check out a selection of interviews and Q&As with Patrick and team here.