In Pursuit of Silence will be shown in Picturehouse cinemas across London, then nationwide, from Friday 21st October.
The nationwide distribution of the feature documentary is being supported in partnership with John Lewis, a long term Quiet Mark partner and consumer champion that has put noise reduction high on its retail agenda.
In Pursuit of Silence is an encounter with silence through the medium of film. Created by award-winning director Patrick Shen, it delivers a meditative, immersive experience. Hailed as a “gorgeously rendered meditation” by MovieMaker Magazine, the film interweaves contemplative moments with the bare minimum of dialogue from scientists and philosophers discussing the nature of silence and the impact of noise. Much like An Inconvenient Truth did 10 years ago, In Pursuit of Silence tackles a new-world dilemma and presents a new vision of being for audiences.
You wouldn’t think that the soundscape around you could pose a serious enough threat to garner the attention of groups like the World Health Organization (WHO) and National Institutes of Health. But, as the film highlights, global noise pollution is so severe that WHO has labelled it as the second-most pressing threat to public health after air pollution.
The feature documentary looks at how, in society’s race towards modernity, amid technological innovation and rapid urban growth, silence is passing into legend. As much a work of devotion as it is a documentary, In Pursuit of Silence is set to change the way we think about our aural landscape.
The Quiet Leaders
The independent filmmakers behind In Pursuit of Silence do offer some hope to those overwhelmed by the noise pollution problem. Brands investing in acoustic engineering to improve the aural environment are paving the way for industries around the world to meet society’s need for quieter living environments.
Each company agreed to take part without contributing payment and gave exclusive interviews and insights into their R&D facilities, including:
BMWi’s ‘Sound Cathedral’ and pioneering electric cars; Virgin Atlantic’s ambitious noise-policy target to reduce its noise footprint by 50% by 2020; Dyson’s multi-million investment in sound-engineering of its products; and Miele’sdecades of leadership on sound quality as a core value.
Quiet Mark, also featured in the film, is recognised for its groundbreaking noise and pioneering sound-quality testing, as well as its development of a clear award-system for quiet products and effort to establish sound as a key consideration in new product development. The distinctive purple Quiet Mark symbol is awarded following rigorous testing and approval from their team of principal acousticians.
Poppy Szkiler, founder and managing director of Quiet Mark and Executive Producer of the feature film, comments “In Pursuit of Silence has been a labour of love. It brings together Patrick’s profound talent, sensitivity and courage to expose, for the first time, one of the most serious health issues facing society today.”
“Quiet Mark’s independent role was invaluable, thanks to our unique position of working with industry to help consumers, whilst underlining Government policy to drive awareness and support the reduction of noise-related issues. We strive to bring insight to technology brands who are already doing their best to reduce the noise levels of their products. They are playing an important role in creating a more healthy environment by improving the quality of sound in people’s lives.”
“As consumers we have a choice and can stop the runaway train of demanding technology, and the fast pace it creates, which robs peace and quiet; to instead ask it to support our health rather than subtly deplete it. Industry can collectively solve the problem by simply prioritising the development of quieter technology and solutions to unwanted noise.”
Patrick Shen, director, In Pursuit of Silence, comments: “Technology grows exponentially more advanced by the week and promises to make us more efficient, green, productive, connected. With every new gadget we introduce into our lives, so expands our daily soundscape.”
“In Pursuit of Silence explores the implications of this for a hunter-gatherer species that has been conditioned for over a million years to react instinctively to sudden, loud events. In the midst of all this we struggle to hear ourselves think, imagine and connect with ourselves. And what possibilities lie in silence, when we are given room to think, reflect and imagine? These are some of the questions that lay at the heart of my inquiry into silence.”
Images available on request.