Patrick Shen: Creating in Silence (Episode 7)
January 24, 2018
Our first conversation with a special guest! Joining us is Patrick Shen, the director of "In Pursuit of Silence."
With this episode, Encountering Silence features our first conversation with a special guest — Patrick Shen, the director of the luminous and thought-provoking documentary film In Pursuit of Silence, which he describes as "a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence and the impact of noise on our lives."
Incidentally, the three hosts of Encountering Silence first met each other through Maggie Ross as a result of her being interviewed for this film, so it's fair to say that the film is the raison d'être for this podcast.
I'm just not that interested in making films anymore that add more to the noise. I'm interested in making films that point to this realm beyond the words, beyond the imagery. — Patrick Shen
Patrick shares with us how he came to be inspired to create his movie, the unlikely role that heavy metal music played in his early life (helping push him to an appreciation of silence!), to the "existential curiosity" that propelled his creativity as a filmmaker.
Our conversation explores the relationship between silence and death, the tension between the spirituality of the creative search and the work the creative process itself; how his relationship with silence is changing the way he works, and much more.
We all get this idea that silence is this magical sort of space, this magical material; and we want it to be infused in our daily life, we want it to be infused with every breath that we take and every moment of our day, and so I've become really fascinated with this idea of work evolving from that place, rather than the work imitating or being a representation of that engagement. — Patrick Shen
Patrick Shen's award-winning films, including Flight from Death: The Quest for Immortality, The Philosopher Kings, and La Source, have been screened at over a hundred and twenty film festivals across the globe and broadcast in over twenty-five territories. He was the recipient of the 2009 Emerging Cinematic Vision Award from Camden International Film Festival. Since 2012 Patrick has been lecturing and teaching filmmaking workshops all over the globe as a film envoy for the U.S. State Department and the USC School of Cinematic Arts for their American Film Showcase. His latest film In Pursuit of Silence premiered to sold-out audiences in November 2015 at the Copenhagen International Film Festival. A companion book to the film, Notes from Silence, will be released in February 2018.
Find Patrick Shen online at www.patrickshen.com or
A lot of us when we step into silence, at least initially, find our narratives or identity stripped away, and it's a lot like a little death of sorts, and it's terrifying. — Patrick Shen
Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:
Patrick Shen, dir., Flight from Death: The Quest for Immortality
Patrick Shen, dir., The Philosopher Kings
Patrick Shen, dir., La Source
Patrick Shen, dir., In Pursuit of Silence
Philip Gröning, dir., Into Great Silence
John Cage, Silence: Lectures and Writings
Nathaniel Dorsky, Devotional Cinema
Megadeath, Greatest Hits
Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death
Kathleen Dowling Singh, The Grace in Dying
Patrick Shen and Cassidy Hall, Notes from Silence
Max Picard, The World of Silence
Catherine Doherty, Poustinia
Henry David Thoreau, Walden and Other Writings
Monica Furlong, Contemplating Now
Rumi, The Essential Rumi
Maggie Ross, Writing the Icon of the Heart
Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness
Episode 7: Creating in Silence: A Conversation with Patrick Shen
Hosted by: Cassidy Hall
With: Carl McColman and Kevin Johnson
Guest: Patrick Shen
Date Recorded: January 12, 2018
IN PURSUIT OF SILENCE Trailer from Cinema Guild on Vimeo.