Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, said there is no such thing as objective reality. All we can talk about, he said, is the results of measurements we make.
The Quantum Shorts film festival is delighted to announce its three top prize winners, selected from a shortlist of ten incredible short films inspired by quantum physics.
The shortlist was created from over 170 submissions from all over the world. “It's wonderful to see so many people being inspired by the seemingly esoteric scientific concepts from quantum physics and finding creative ways to make them relevant to human stories,” says physicist and author Brian Greene at Columbia University, a member of the judging panel and founder of the World Science Festival.
Each winning team gets a cash award and engraved trophy, on top of the screening fee, certificate and one-year digital subscription to Scientific American awarded to all finalists.
A detective, a serial killer and a parallel universe provide the framework for the film that takes first prize: director Thomas Tay Li Guo’s quantum thriller Slide! Tay, an undergraduate student in materials science in Singapore, has a diploma in screenwriting.
“I am a strong believer that arts and science coincide on many areas and Quantum Shorts did a fantastic job on proving that,” says Tay, who made the film with co-producer Lin Tianyun and two actors.
Honor Harger, Executive Director for ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, praised the film for its “fantastic script” and “excellent production”. Eliene Augenbraun, Multimedia Managing Editor for Nature Research Group, said the short “is so good I’d like to see a longer film”. The team receives $1500 for their work.
Together, the judges bring wide expertise in physics, film and arts. Also on the panel are Alex Winter, actor and director, Artur Ekert, Director of the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore, and Jamie Lochhead, who wrote and directed the 2019 documentary ‘Einstein's Quantum Riddle’ about quantum entanglement for NOVA, the award-winning U.S. Public Broadcasting Service's flagship science program.
The runner up prize of $1000 goes to If the World Spinned Backwards by Leonardo Martinelli and co-writer Arthur Valverde, a poetic imagination of how quantum theory’s independence of time would change the human experience.
Martinelli, a Brazilian filmmaker, said that participating in Quantum Shorts was a unique opportunity. “The festival has an extremely original proposal and format. Even having participated in many festivals, I have never seen something like it. It's an honor to be a part of it,” he said.
Decided by online public vote on the shortlist, the People’s Choice Prize of $500 goes to Legio VIII Quantae: The quantum resurgence after the fall of Silicon Valley. PhD student Andrea Rodriguez Blanco gathered a cast of friends and family to film this faux documentary in the Spanish town of Leon, imagining its future as a quantum city. This film was also the favourite of judges Ekert and Winter.
All the finalists are being screened around the world. Quantum Shorts events have so far taken place in Canada, New Zealand and Singapore, with the next screenings happening 16 April in Sydney and 29 April in Brisbane, Australia, and then in cities across the UK during June. The short films can also be watched here.
They come with high endorsements. Winter, who recently announced a return to a famous comedy sci-fi franchise from his earlier career – to star with Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted 3: Face the Music - said “I really enjoyed all the shorts. Each film was clever and inventive, and together they illustrate how inspiring and varied quantum science can be for story tellers.”
Quantum Shorts is organised by the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore with support from media partners Scientific American and Nature, scientific partners and screening partners. It has run every year since 2012, alternating between calls for short films and flash fiction.