A day in the life of Benji, a young gay man who has always looked to others for everything: his absent lover Leo for intimacy, his best friend Ava for companionship and his eccentric parents for everything else.
On the day Ava moves out of their shared apartment, leaving him alone, Benji is forced to confront his feelings of isolation and anxiety which have manifested into a recurring dream in which Benji is hopelessly trapped inside a whale.
To grow up, Benji must face the lonely darkness of the whale … and himself.
Writer/director/producer: M. H. Murray
Cinematographer: Dmitry Lopatin
Production designer: Mong Tho Mach
Composer: Spencer Creaghan
Inside the Whale was created in film school when I was the same age as Benji (early 20s) and it was, therefore, an important opportunity for me to confront my own struggles related to growing up, taking responsibility for myself and my actions, and learning how to exist in the world alone.
The final scene in which Benji travels through the car wash is, in a way, supposed to illustrate him finally sliding out of childhood and into adulthood and embracing the ‘whale’ which is a metaphor for the absurdity of life.
This film is extra special because it showcases a gay man whose struggles aren’t explicitly linked to his queerness which is rarely seen in cinema, even today.
About M. H. Murray
M. H. Murray is an emerging filmmaker and writer based in Toronto.
He created his first web series, Teenagers, when he was 19. The series – which he also wrote, directed and edited – ran for three seasons, screened at festivals internationally and has been viewed more than 10 million times on YouTube.
For his work on the series, he won awards for best Canadian series and best screenplay at the Vancouver Web Series Festival. In 2016, the Mississauga Arts Council honoured Murray with the award for best emerging media artist. In 2017, he was nominated for best director by the International Academy of Web Television.
His short film work includes Inside the Whale (2014) which screened at the Valley Film Festival in Los Angeles, and Stephanie’s Room (2015) which won the 48 Hour Film Project in Toronto. In his final year of film school, he launched Black Elephant, a film production company.
He is currently developing his feature film directorial debut, a television series, various screenplays and a collection of short stories.