There were a few things about The Whale’s unique story that moved me on a personal level, most notably, its song: I needed to hear it, I needed to know what the loneliest song in the world sounded like.
After a lot of digging, I found a sped-up (10x) version of the rare song archived on NOAA’s website, which I then slowed back down to the song’s original speed with a sound editing tool; at first it seemed that adjusting the speed had broken the song, the speakers were silent... but I could feel something very subtle. Turning the volume up filled the room with sounds mostly coming from the subwoofers, filling the entire house, seeming to come from no real direction. Erica and I stood there, both in a daze, the strange song looping over and over. “It’s beautiful” she said... That was the start.
Over time, many elements - some personal, some external - began to shape the tone and structure of this film. LONELIEST is many things to me, a story about what it means to move on after losing someone special; a life-long interest with the world’s largest living creature; a collection of stories from people moved by The Whale’s folklore, a folklore born out of scientific research; an exploration of sound, sound as language, sound as symbolism.
At its heart, LONELIEST is a commentary on people’s constant struggle to feel connected with something meaningful, and the strange unexpected places that connection can come from.