Patrick and the Whale

Patrick and the Whale

72' 2022
dir.: Mark Fletcher

Patrick Dykstra, leaving behind his legal profession, dedicates himself to whale photography. His long-term observations of these oceanic giants ignite a desire to communicate with them. The documentary presents these colossal animals as otherworldly entities. It delves into the challenges of interacting with a being that weighs thousands of tons yet displays childlike playfulness, and considers whether whales can actually benefit from human interest. 

In Mark Fletcher's striking documentary, the world's largest mammals, gliding through ocean depths, appear as ethereal beings from an alien realm. The film's central figure, Patrick Dykstra, embarks on a quest reminiscent of reaching out to an extraterrestrial civilization. Forsaking his law firm career for whale photography, Dykstra spends years studying these marine titans. He notices one whale exhibiting a peculiar interest in humans, sparking his quest to establish communication. Dykstra's pursuit to understand these creatures leads him to sometimes controversial methods. The film poses intriguing questions: How do we interpret the intentions of a several-ton giant, exhibiting playful behavior yet communicating in frequencies beyond human hearing? Moreover, it asks whether there are any potential benefits for whales arising from human fascination with them. 


2022 TIFF

Tickets and passes
72' 2022 Austria
Mark Fletcher
Rupert Murray, Gail Jenkinson, Patrick Dykstra
Mark Fletcher
Terra Mater Studios GmbH
Online availability
1-10 December