Toronto/Vienna. The official festival line-up is in place for the 2022 TIFF Docs section. “Patrick and the Whale”, a feature documentary by Austria-based Terra Mater Studios, will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9. An amazing triumph that follows on from various nominations at this year’s Jackson Wild Media Awards and Wildscreen Panda Awards.

 The Toronto International Film Festival today revealed the documentaries that have made it into the official selection and will stage their world premiere at the prestigious festival. Among the chosen productions: Patrick and the Whale“, an inspiring and engaging feature documentary about the relationship between a man and a sperm whale, produced by Austria-based Terra Mater Studios.

Terra Mater Studios’ producer team, Walter Köhler and Wolfgang Knöpfler, are thrilled about the achievement. “Almost precisely two years ago I came upon this story and knew instantly that this is a film I wanted to make.” Wolfgang Knöpfler looks back at the beginning: “There were lots of challenges, but in the end our super-strong team completed a film that will bring joy to audiences and has brought us the recognition of major festivals”.

“Patrick and the Whale“ recently received three nominations at the internationally acclaimed Jackson Wild Media Awards (Human Planet – Long Form, Onscreen Personality, and Feature) and a further three at the Wildscreen Panda Awards (Editing, Sound, and Producer/Director).

For Walter Köhler, CEO of Terra Mater Studios, the film hits the sweet spot for the audience: “We believe that this beautiful and touching story satisfies the desire for inner and outer peace that is probably missed all too often these days. Diving into this marvelous world of Patrick and the whales lets you happily escape for 72 minutes.”

The fascinating film follows Patrick Dykstra, who has dedicated his life to traveling the globe, following and diving with whales. Over the years, he has learned how whales see and hear, how they perceive other creatures in the water, and how they behave at close quarters. He has finely tuned senses and knows how to act when within touching distance of a whale – what to do, what not to do, and when. This allows him to consistently get closer than anyone else alive – a truly unique skill.

Patrick recently experienced a life-changing event. In Dominica, he had a close encounter with a female sperm whale. She seemed to be curious about him, coming within touching distance, pulsing him with her sonar. She studied him as he studied her. Patrick felt an overwhelming sense that she was genuinely trying to communicate. We follow Patrick as he travels to Dominica again to find this special whale, whom he named Dolores, so she can help him show us the hidden world of her species.

Using stunning underwater footage, Patrick explores the fascinating nature of the sperm whale, attempting to shine a light on its intelligence and complexity, as well as highlighting its current and past relationship with humankind. The film follows his personal journey and explores the psychology of a man who has sacrificed everything in his single-minded quest to connect with and understand one of the biggest creatures in the ocean.

The feature documentary was directed and edited by multi-award-winning filmmaker Mark Fletcher, and produced by Terra Mater Studios CEO Walter Köhler and producer Wolfgang Knöpfler, who both produced the Oscar-shortlisted feature documentary “The Ivory Game” and “Sea of Shadows”, winner of a Sundance Audience Award.

The 47th edition of TIFF runs from September 8 to 18, featuring 18 gala films and 45 special presentations.