Funded! This project was successfully funded on March 9, 2013.


A documentary exploring the value of silence, our relationship with sound, and the implications of living in a noisy world.


We hit $33,000! We can't thank you all enough. Can you help us to continue pushing this campaign? We'd love to keep chipping away at our overall budget of $240k. We really appreciate it. THANK YOU.


Pledge now or increase your pledge to $100+ to also receive this 3 DVD set of Transcendental Media's previous award-winning films: Flight from Death, The Philosopher Kings, and La Source (get it before it's released this summer).


In Pursuit of Silence is a meditative feature documentary about the value of silence, our relationship with sound, and the implications of living in such a noisy world. From the monastic traditions of the world’s religions to the universal practice of the “moment of silence” as an act of mourning, humanity has had a long fascination with silence. Today when one in three Americans suffers from some degree of hearing impairment, this relationship with silence, which once served as the key to our evolutionary sustainability, is challenged more than ever as the world continues to grow noisier. Interweaved between reflective and artful scenes of silence viewers will experience intimate stories about people, their pursuit of silence, and their relationship with sound.


In Pursuit of Silence will feature what we've come to know and love about documentaries: powerful, relatable stories about real people as well as engaging and informative interviews with experts at the forefront of mind-blowing research that is relevant and timely. This film will be much more than that however. For starters, sound will play a big part in this film. For example, before subjects of the film are introduced, viewers will experience the sounds of his or her environment. Intimate and meditative images unique to these people and their environments will also help to give viewers a more immersive experience. It's also important to me that viewers leave the theater having truly experienced silence rather than just heard about it for 80 minutes. And when I say "silence" I don't necessarily mean the absence of sound entirely but more a "sense of silence" which can be a number of things, even a state of mind. To accomplish this, I plan to interweave meditative and artful scenes depicting silence throughout the film. It might be a gorgeous seascape off the Pacific coast or a Los Angeles gas station in the middle of the night. Borrowing from artist / photographers like Ansel Adams and Hiroshi Sugimoto and experimental filmmakers like Nathaniel Dorsky, this film will be just as much of something as it is about something. Lastly, employing the things I learned after having worked with the team at Skywalker Sound for my last film, we intend to painstakingly record the sounds around us while we're on location and work with expert sound designers during post-production to build a truly immersive soundscape for the film. 


Though often unnoticed, noise plays a huge part in our daily lives. Each individual sound combines into a collage of noise, which infiltrates nearly every aspect of the human psyche. Whether a leaf blower, city traffic, or the sound of a passing jetliner, noise deprives humans of the natural silence that is often taken for granted, yet is so important in our lives. Recent studies by every major health organization reveal that our “noise problem” is much more than an annoyance. Besides the alarming fact that hearing loss is reaching epidemic proportions (Johns Hopkins University 2008), noise is directly linked to hundreds of thousands of deaths related to heart disease each year (World Health Organization) and significantly affects the cognitive development of children. Implications for our physical and mental health aside, sound can shape our experience of a time and place and even influence our behaviors. Corporations worldwide commonly use sound as subliminal means to manipulate us into spending more money on their products. 


When the noise of the world falls away, so does the cloud of busyness and anxiety that permeates every aspect of our lives. We become free from the world. Noise causes us to be reactive whereas silence inspires proactiveness. In silence we are better equipped to reflect and simply think. Research shows that silence can improve brain function and help cultivate more meaningful and healthier lives. Silence restores us.


Patrick Shen made his directorial debut in 2005 with Flight from Death: The Quest for Immortality which was hailed by critics as being "one of the most ambitious films ever made" (PBS 106.7 Australia) and "moving and thought-provoking" (NBC). Narrated by Golden Globe winner Gabriel Byrne, filmed in eight different countries and three years in the making, Flight from Death was awarded seven "Best Documentary" awards at film festivals all over the United States. In 2009, Patrick released The Philosopher Kings which premiered to sold-out audiences at the AFI-Discovery Channel SILVERDOCS Documentary Festival and went on to open theatrically in L.A. and N.Y. and premiere on The Documentary Channel. Hailed as being a "terrific documentary about janitors" by the SF Chronicle, the award-winning film sheds light on the wisdom found among janitors employed at some of America’s top universities. His most recent documentary La Source, narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Don Cheadle, tells the story of a janitor from New Jersey and his efforts to bring clean water to his village in post-earthquake Haiti. La Source opened theatrically to sold-out audiences in LA and New York in August 2012.

You can watch Patrick's first two films on HULU by clicking these links: Flight from Death (2005)  /  The Philosopher Kings (2009)


Historically, many filmmakers (us included) have relied solely on investors to finance their projects. The problem with this model is that (Michael Moore and massive box office success aside) filmmakers often don't see a dime from the years he/she put into making the film, leaving them (us included) to scrounge, beg, borrow, sell their plasma to get by and continue making the art that enriches and nourishes us. Platforms like Kickstarter are often the only way many important films like The Waiting Room and Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry get made. The more we raise here the less dependent we'll be on investor money. Here's how your money will be spent:

WHY $33,000? WHY $239,830?

$33,000 is just enough to get the ball rolling. It would cover costs to fully develop and research the film, put together a trailer for fundraising purposes, and begin securing subjects for the film. It'll also buy us some time as we continue fundraising for the film.

$239,830 is the overall budget for the film and is our ULTIMATE fundraising goal. We'd love to see how close we can get to that figure here on Kickstarter! Making a documentary takes a lot of time and involves a lot of people. I assure you we will need every penny of that budget for research, travel, gear rental, editing, licensing footage, music, sound mix, color correction, and marketing.

ALL the money raised here, after deducting the approximately 10% that goes to Kickstarter and the credit card companies, will go towards your Kickstarter rewards and costs associated directly with making this film. To complete this film by December 2014, we'll have to begin working on this film full-time immediately.


Besides the satisfaction of knowing that you've contributed to a piece of art that will inform and nourish audiences worldwide? You'll get some awesome rewards - our gifts to you for helping us make this important film! Here's a sampling... (more details on the right side of your screen):

[TOP LEFT] Sneak peek at one of the exclusive postcards that one of our designers is working on for $55+ donors. [BOTTOM LEFT] Mock-up of Polaroid coasters featuring images taken by the crew. [RIGHT] $250+ donors can choose between a 1-hour Skype call w/the Director or a copy of the book "In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise" autographed by author George Prochnik.


Kickstarter is one of the most important and innovative things to happen to the film industry in years. In addition to being THE largest funding platform for creative projects in the world, it's also how many independent films are financed these days. Recent Oscar shortlist documentaries like Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry and The Waiting Room both received funding through Kickstarter. The beauty of Kickstarter is that it empowers the audience to fund the projects they want to see get made. Kickstarter campaigns are also ALL OR NOTHING which means if we don't meet our goal, we get nothing.


Glad you asked! Kickstarter campaigns live and die by the extent to which they are shared with others. After you've made a pledge, here are a few things you can do to spread the word and keep the momentum going:

  • Use the SHARE buttons (below the video) to share this campaign on Facebook and/or Twitter (be sure to use #silencemovie).
  • Use the EMBED button (below the video) to embed our Kickstarter video on your blog, Facebook, etc.
  • Email friends, family and co-workers about this campaign.
  • Do all of the above again throughout the duration of the campaign.
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get the most up-to-date news & promotions regarding the campaign.
  • And, we'd love to hear from you! Leave us a message and keep the conversation going on our social networks.
  • Go treat yourself to an entire pizza for reading through our entire page. Seriously, do it...right now.

Lastly, thank you. This film will not be possible without you. You rule.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Barring any unforeseeable disasters, this film will get made. We're an experienced team and know what it takes to follow through and finish. That said, there are many risks associated with documentary filmmaking and things may (or may not) take longer than expected. Documentary filmmaking is a very unpredictable and fluid process during which the scope and story continually evolves throughout the process. It may take longer than we estimate to obtain the necessary footage we're seeking (7-8 months). It may take longer than we estimate to assemble the project together (6-8 months) and deliver a working prototype to our backers. It may not be well received when it's done. These are the challenges and realities of independent filmmaking today. Unless we somehow miraculously raise our entire budget of $240,000 here on Kickstarter (which would be AMAZING!), we will turn to outside funding sources to raise the remainder of the budget. It's not ideal, but it's a reality of the business. We have funded all of our previous films this way and, sadly for us and our families, the majority of revenue from those films has gone back to investors.


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

Ask a question
pledged of $33,000 goal
seconds to go
  • Pledge $2 or more
    You selected

    31 backers

    Welcome to the team! Receive EXCLUSIVE PROJECT UPDATES from the crew that will include extended sneak peeks, on-location photos, and other behind the scenes stuff.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $11 or more
    You selected

    198 backers

    Receive the EXCLUSIVE UPDATES and a DIGITAL HD DOWNLOAD of the film when it's complete and hits the film festival circuit.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $33 or more
    You selected

    101 backers

    Receive a KICKSTARTER EDITION of the DVD which will feature a collection of meditative shorts and deleted scenes AND every backer's name on the artwork PLUS all preceding rewards. You will be among the FIRST to see the film.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $55 or more
    You selected

    17 backers

    Receive an 8x10 LIMITED EDITION POSTER and a SET OF FOUR 4x6 POSTCARDS designed exclusively for the film PLUS all preceding rewards.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $20 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $77 or more
    You selected

    3 backers

    Receive TWO LIMITED EDITION POLAROID COASTERS made by the crew from Instagram photos that we'll take on location, quotes, facts and other stuff we'll figure out along the way (EVERY coaster will be different) PLUS all preceding rewards.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $100 or more
    You selected

    103 backers

    YOUR NAME on the big screen: receive a SPECIAL THANKS CREDIT in the end credits of the film and on the website PLUS all preceding awards.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $250 or more
    You selected

    17 backers Limited (8 left of 25)

    Receive an AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF "IN PURSUIT OF SILENCE" (the book) by AUTHOR GEORGE PROCHNIK PLUS all preceding rewards.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $30 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $250 or more
    You selected

    2 backers

    Receive a UNIQUE 8x10 ORIGINAL PHOTO taken on location during the making of this film, signed by the crew PLUS all preceding rewards.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $1,000 or more
    You selected

    1 backer Limited (24 left of 25)

    Receive 10 KICKSTARTER EDITION DVDs of the film (makes a great gift!) AND a SILENCE KIT complete with headphones, soundscapes recorded by the crew on location, an interactive silence guide and more PLUS all preceding awards (NOTE: must choose one option from $250 level).

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $35 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $1,000 or more
    You selected

    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    Receive 10 KICKSTARTER EDITION DVDs of the film AND an INVITATION for you and a guest to THE WRAP PARTY at Transcendental Media's offices in Los Angeles, CA. PLUS all rewards $250 and below. (Note: must choose one option from $250 level)

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $30 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $2,500 or more
    You selected

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    YOUR NAME on the big screen: Receive an ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT in the end credits of the film and the website PLUS a total of 15 KICKSTARTER EDITION DVDs and all rewards $1,000 and below. (Note: must choose one option from the $1,000 and $250 levels.)

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $40 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $9,000 or more
    You selected

    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    YOUR NAME on the big screen: Receive a CO-PRODUCER CREDIT in the film and the website, 25 KICKSTARTER EDITION DVDs, PLUS WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT (i.e all preceding awards).

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $50 USD to ship outside the US
Funding period

- (31 days)