Now on Science & Film is Lilian Mehrel’s ten-minute film THE LONELIEST about a whale that is debatably lonely. This mockumentary of a British nature show (such as BBC’s PLANET EARTH) features two women on a boat searching for a whale. Of the two, the marine biologist is convinced that the whale feels lonely, while the cinematographer is more skeptical about the extent to which animals feel.
Lilian Mehrel, a graduate of New York University’s film program, wrote, directed, edited, and produced the film. It was made with support from an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation production grant through NYU. The film was also supported by the Okeanos Foundation for the Sea, and has won a Puffin Foundation Film Award and the Nancy Malone award for Outstanding Directing.
Mehrel was inspired by a story about a whale identified by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute; the whale was producing a sound at a pitch higher than other whale calls nearby, that thus were not responding. She worked with Dr. Eric Brenner on the accuracy of the script; Dr. Brenner is a biology and environmental studies professor at NYU.
THE LONELIEST will henceforth be available in the Sloan Science & Film library of short films. It will be in the forthcoming edition of the Teacher’s Guide, which makes these films available to classroom teachers.