Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer
RUNNER UP | Quantum Shorts 2020
A female inventor sends a man through space and time with unplanned results; you will be fine, she tells him, it worked for the pot plant. Director Jack Davies and his team present a whimsical take on experiments at the edge of knowledge.
Sending people through space and time is not possible now but quantum researchers are working on teleporting states of particles over long distances. Here is a recent experiment by physicists in Austria and China: https://physicsworld.com/a/quantum-teleportation-moves-into-the-third-dimension/
Please tell us about yourself and the team that made the film.
I am a writer, director and producer who has been making films for fifteen years. This was the first time any of us had worked together as a crew and cast. It was a great experience to work with such dedicated professionals.
How did you come up with the idea for your film?
I have been interested in Russian researcher Eugene Podkletnov and his work with superconductors for some time. I wanted to make a short film about a young woman who had invented a machine that she thought could send her through time and space, and the surprising results of that experiment.
What is the quantum inspiration? What makes you interested in quantum physics?
Quantum physics has been a lifelong interest, the idea of quantum superposition, of being in two states, or two positions, at the same time, led directly to imagining a machine that sent a person through space but not time, where they would be invisible to any observer. The idea then led to a metaphor of a woman not being heard or seen, and to her revenge in using that state to regain control over her life.
Please share with us an interesting detail about you how made the movie.
The film was shot in one day on a small budget. The props were sourced cheaply. The flat was my own. We could not afford to hire a light that would be powerful enough to stand outside the window to be used as a key light, so we used the sun. In order to achieve the contrast we wanted we put black flooring plastic on the ceiling of the room, masked off the window and put black drape all around to create a hard edged directional light source that wouldn’t bounce around the room.
What reaction do you hope for from viewers?
I would like them to enjoy the film, to find the characters interesting and to provoke thought on what they might do in such a situation, would they come back from a world in which they were invisible, but could not be heard, in the metaphorical sense. Sometimes it is necessary to make your voice heard, even if that means exposing yourself to whatever life throws at you.
What is your favourite science-inspired or sci-fi movie?
Blade Runner (1982), Silent Running (1972) and Metropolis (1927)
What does being a Quantum Shorts finalist mean to you?
It means a great deal to be honoured as a finalist by Quantum Shorts. I love the approach of mixing science with art as a way to understand the world, and I believe this festival and screening will generate a wider exposure for this aim.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about you or your film?
The film was shot a year ago, before lockdown. The editing and sound design were done remotely with a post-production crew in Sicily. The time machine was made out of a plastic bucket sprayed silver, and a fan I had. That summer we had no fan, my girlfriend told people I’d made it into a time machine.
Jack Davies is writer, director and producer who has made award-winning short films and a feature film.