In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that the principles of quantum mechanics would mean that a black hole emits a slow stream of particles and would eventually evaporate.
From films that made them “laugh out loud” to those that were “painfully touching”, from the “slightly absurd” to the “brilliantly unexpected”, judges for the Quantum Shorts film festival have picked ten finalists and commended the diversity of entries.
The ten shortlisted films were chosen from 224 films received from 52 different countries during the festival’s call for entries in 2020. The task for filmmakers was to tell a quantum story in no more than five minutes of film. Filmmakers tackled the challenge in many thought-provoking ways.
“There was such a variety of entries, each with their own unique twist on quantum, it was a joy to watch them all,” said shortlisting judge Ruth Hardy at the UK Quantum Communications Hub.
The finalists are made in styles including live action, puppeteering and animation, across a range of genres. You can watch a comedic take on quantum superposition, immerse yourself in a suspenseful game of hide-and-seek, and solve a crime with quantum clues.
Among these creative takes on quantum physics, many of the films tell a human story. Joshua Slater at QuTech said, “I loved watching the films that explored the human side; how people act in a world where the weirdness of quantum physics is manifest around us,” he said. “Whether it is children, or beguiling young adults, or a future society, I can feel the imagination of those films opening up my own.”
Want to open up your imagination, too? Now you can judge the films for yourselves. We invite you to watch the Quantum Shorts finalists and vote for your favourite. There is an online public vote to decide the People’s Choice Prize open until 28 February.
Meanwhile, our eminent judges will decide the festival’s First Prize and Runner Up to be announced in March. This chance at even greater honours comes on top of the prizes the finalists have already won. For making the shortlist, the ten finalists from Australia, the Czech Republic, Chile, India, the Philippines, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States have won a $250 prize and a one-year digital subscription to Scientific American.
Congratulations to the finalists! You can watch the trailer first, and then enjoy the films one by one. You can also read interviews with the films’ creators on the Quantum Shorts website for behind the scenes stories.
In alphabetical order, the shortlisted films are:
At shorts.quantumlah.org, you can also look out for news of upcoming events. We will be holding online panels and some live screenings. One live screening is happening at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, in February. Visit the events page on the Quantum Shorts website for more details and links to register.