Unpredictability lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. It bothered Einstein, but it also bothers the Dalai Lama.
SHORTLISTED | Quantum Shorts 2018
A police officer responding to an emergency call unknowingly stumbles into the world of quantum physics in this tense, sci-fi mystery by Daniel Baig. A man has locked himself in a room and refuses to be seen. For the officer, it’s a life or death situation in more ways than he realizes. He may have got the right house address, but he’s in a very different location.
This film has Schrodinger’s cat and many worlds as plot points. Get an explanation of these ideas from physicist Brian Greene, a festival judge: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29321771
Please tell us about yourself and the team that made the film
While I have been involved in other people’s productions, this was my first effort at film-making. The real challenge was that I found out about Quantum Shorts rather close to the final deadline, so there was no time to put a team together and this became a solo effort—I wrote, developed, performed, directed, edited, etc., which was a learning process onto itself, especially the editing! However, I wanted to submit to Quantum Shorts, so I did. I think I submitted my project within an hour of the final deadline.
How did you come up with the idea for your film?
I am currently developing a long-form, quantum-inspired narrative story, so this seemed like the time to start. I wanted to create a darker story that combined theoretical/abstract science with a common story genre (in this case a police/crime story), while aiming for suspense and higher stakes. What I like about Quantum Shorts is that because the festival is geared specifically towards quantum-inspired content, I feel like I can trust the audience, take risks, and focus on the story without worrying too much about having to explain the science behind it.
What is the quantum inspiration?
The inspiration comes from exploring the different possibilities and forms that “quantum” can take on--both in the theoretical and the practical sense. The subject matter is open to creative interpretation and there are a variety of ways to approach it. It was fun, but frustrating, because I wanted to do more, incorporate more (and understand more), while keeping the project under five minutes.
What’s an interesting detail about you how made the movie?
I used non-traditional filming formats in an attempt to incorporate the theory of observation. I used surveillance-type shots as well a body camera worn by the main character. That was to put the audience in his shoes to see what he observes, but the entire time I was filming I was worried that the body camera was not positioned correctly and was filming the ground, instead of what I wanted the audience to see.
What reaction do you hope for from viewers?
My hope is to get any reaction, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative. This project is nothing more than my interpretation of the subject matter. I would be happy if the short was something that people found engaging, even if critically, The goal was to tell a story and maybe challenge others to develop their own take on this subject matter—Seriously, anyone can do it!
What is your favourite science-inspired or sci-fi movie?
Tough question. I am particularly drawn to science fiction that is based on our current limits of scientific understanding and then goes one step further—while still maintaining a human element/connection to the science. Movies, such as “Interstellar”, “Ex Machina” and “Gattaca”, fall into that vein for me.
What does being a Quantum Shorts finalist mean to you?
Since I made this project with Quantum Shorts in mind, I am excited to be a part of the festival as finalist in addition to the opportunity to showcase my work. I suppose this would also be a “world premiere” for the film too! I hope it goes without saying that I appreciate the individuals and organizations that make Quantum Shorts possible. Thanks for watching!
Daniel Baig is based in the United States.