This is one of the universal constants of nature, and relates the energy of a single quantum of radiation to its frequency. It is central to quantum theory and appears in many important formulae, including the Schrödinger Equation.
SHORTLISTED | Quantum Shorts 2020
After a long day of study, the physicist Leo imagines himself experiencing life as an electron. Leo’s Uncertainty by Paulina Hevia and Gabriel Kauer from Chile offers a dark cinematic take on quantum phenomena such as the uncertainty principle, evoking the intensity of researching something that refuses to be understood.
Are you looking for more certainty about the uncertainty principle? Physicist Brian Greene explains more in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAtH4VwuFcc
Please tell us about yourself and the team that made the film.
We are Paulina Hevia and Gabriel Kauer, two filmmakers from Santiago, Chile. Driven by a passion for cinema, in 2015 we started working dedicatedly on our own independent film projects. We have been working together ever since, sometimes as co-authors, and sometimes as collaborators. More recently, we founded Paracosmos films, a production house specialised in experimental and innovative films. We have created experimental short films such as Tanz I, Abisal and Leo’s Uncertainty, which have been selected and exhibited in different festivals. We have also been working on our first feature length film called El Borde, which is in the final stage of postproduction.
How did you come up with the idea for your film?
We started from the premise of doing a film inspired in quantum physics and talked about several subjects and possibilities. After a long discussion, we realised that the most interesting thing for us was the possibility of showing in a cinematic way actions that are impossible in a classical framework, but not in a quantum one. Then, the idea of a young physicist imagining himself as being an electron or another quantum particle became the best option to combine different actions in a coherent way.
What makes you interested in quantum physics?
Within all the fields and subjects of science, quantum mechanics is probably one of the most challenging because it takes to the limits our capabilities of imagination. Many of the actions and phenomena that quantum mechanics describes are simply impossible for us to picture in an intuitive way. The arts in general, but especially cinema, gives us the possibility of challenging this impasse and to try to, nevertheless, create an image inspired by an imageless event.
Please share with us an interesting detail about you how made the movie.
The film was made entirely, from the very beginning to the end, by two people. We already had some experience in the different stages of the filmmaking process, but this time we really had to do everything by ourselves, including acting. Gabriel played Leo, our only character. This was due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What reaction do you hope for from viewers?
Most of all, we hope everyone enjoys our film. We would love it if viewers find it interesting, unexpected, or simply a pleasant experience. For those viewers that are vaguely familiar with the subject of quantum mechanics, this film might be particularly interesting, because it allows some sort of quantum interpretation. However, we also think that those completely unfamiliar with the subject might also enjoy it, for this film was made with the intent of allowing several layers of interpretation. We celebrate and encourage every particular interpretation and experience of the viewer.
What is your favourite science-inspired or sci-fi movie?
It is impossible for us to name a single movie, or even a few, as our favourites. We have enjoyed so many good science-inspired movies, documentaries, and science fiction films that we would have to name way too many. We especially appreciate science fiction movies, like 2001: A space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, or Tarkovsky’s Solaris and Stalker, to name just a few.
We would definitely love to make our own sci-fi movie in the future.
What does being a Quantum Shorts finalist mean to you?
We feel honoured and grateful for the selection, which is for us an incredible opportunity. As soon as we found out about this festival, we knew it was the festival for us. It was a great incentive for making a film about a fascinating subject. The Quantum Shorts finalist selection means that all the work we went through was definitely worthwhile.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about you or your film?
We would like to say to all that we hope you enjoy the film. It is incredible that we can share our work with viewers from all around the globe, so we would like to acknowledge and say thanks to the festival and everyone involved, for making it possible. We will continue creating films, hopefully improving in doing so, and we are looking forward to sharing them with all of you.
Paulina Hevia and Gabriel Kauer are filmmakers from Santiago, Chile.