Private Project

The Quantum Suicide of Sophie Miller

What are the odds? So beings The Quantum Suicide of Sophie Miller, which tells the story of Dr. Sophie Miller, a neurotic and introverted physics professor who, consumed by repressed guilt and afflicted with a self-imposed incapacity to assign meaning to interpersonal relationships, is compelled to multiple suicide attempts in pursuit of an absurdly rational scientific quest: to either prove by her life or disprove by her death a concurrently fantastic and infinitely alluring theory--quantum immortality. On the surface, quantum immortality is merely the theoretical byproduct of a mathematical oddity of particle physics. But for Sophie and others who understand its philosophical implications, it calls into question our perception of time, mortality, and our very notion of reality. Sophie's quest is greater than just a dispassionate pursuit. Rather, it is the inevitable result of a long chain of causality, a potential vindication of her own stubborn rationality, and an apology to herself and to her family for what she believes and what she could not bring herself to believe. Far more than just a science-fiction drama, The Quantum Suicide of Sophie Miller is the immensely intimate psychological portrait of a character pushed to the brink by incomprehensible family tragedy, an examination of the conflation of science, philosophy, and religion, and a philosophical treatise on our belief in the afterlife and how it informs the relationships we build in our own lives and the choices it compels us to make.

  • Kevin G. Bender
    The Receipt, The Artist, Below the Beltway, Life's a Smoose
  • Matthew Marcus
    The Artist
  • Darrell Poe
  • Alexia Poe
    Key Cast
    Ninjas vs. Monsters, Ninjas vs. Zombies, Wombs Discovering the Next Dimension
  • Aimee Snow
    Key Cast
  • Anthony Carchietta
    Key Cast
  • Larry Keeling
    Key Cast
    Ninjas vs. Monsters
  • Carl Nubile
    Key Cast
    American Experience, Shadows Run Black
  • Matthew Marcus
    Key Cast
    The Receipt, The Artist, Confab, Wombs Discovering the Next Dimension
  • Jennifer Osborn
    Key Cast
    Within the Darkness, Jane Doe, Gerald Full of Wonder, Two Hearts, House of Cards, Emissions, Prescription, Macbeth, Still, The Personal Day, Two Hears, Build to Suit, Out, Black & White, Devils, Trailer Made, Terrorist, Dead on Site
  • K. Clare Johnson
    Key Cast
    America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back, Countdown to Ground Zero, The Least of These
  • Kevin G. Bender
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Science fiction, drama
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 24 minutes 53 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 10, 2013
  • Production Budget:
    13,745 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Kevin G. Bender

Kevin G. Bender is the critically-acclaimed director and producer of The Receipt (2008) and The Quantum Suicide of Sophie Miller (2014), along with three other feature-length films and over forty additional film and video projects including commercials, music videos, documentaries, and narrative short films. He is also a published author, entrepreneur, experienced financial professional, musician, composer, graphic artist, and web developer. Mr. Bender co-founded RiverBend Films in October 2005 to produce and finance the independent feature film Below the Beltway. As the principal creative force behind over forty productions produced by RiverBend Films, Mr. Bender has overseen production teams of more than 100 people and projects that have required as long as three years to bring to fruition.

Among his most significant accomplishments are RiverBend Films's flagship film The Receipt and The Quantum Suicide of Sophie Miller. Released in April 2008, The Receipt is a romantic comedy made using techniques and technologies mirroring those available to major Hollywood film production companies. At the time of its release, The Receipt was the longest, most expensive, and most ambitious project ever undertaken by an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia. The Quantum Suicide of Sophie Miller, based on the award-winning one-act play of the same name, is a sophisticated, intellectual science-fiction and psychological drama requiring extensive computer generated effects and involving a production team of well over 100 individuals and requiring three years to complete. The finished film is pending submissions to film festivals nationwide.

Mr. Bender graduated with distinction, manga cum laude, from the University of Virginia in 2008 with a degree in Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity. From 2008 to 2014, he worked as a senior accountant, and later as a financial analyst, for USI Holdings Corporation, a Goldman-Sachs Capital Partners Company. While there, he managed the accounting and financial reporting for a 500 million dollar business unit and performed purchase accounting for acquisitions collectively valued at over three billion dollars.

In 2013, Mr. Bender began pursuing a juris doctor degree at the Marshall Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary, focusing on capital markets, securities law, and mergers and acquisitions. His many accolades at law school include induction into the Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society, membership on the staff of the William & Mary Law Review, being among the three-member Transactional Law Team which won first (buyer side) in the 2014 Southwestern Regional Transactional Law Meet, winning the 2015 Elliot A. Spoon Writing Competition in securities law, and earning three CALI Awards for achieving the highest grade in law school courses. Mr. Bender is currently ranked first in his class at William and Mary. While at law school, Mr. Bender has been able to continue his filmmaking career, providing his services to produce promotional materials and documentaries for the Center for Legal and Court Technology (home to the world's most advanced courtroom) and directing a one-act play.

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Director Statement

You'll see a lot of mirrors in The Quantum Suicide of Sophie Miller. Cyclical events and repetitive history are a prominent element of Matts screenplay, and mirrors provide a convenient signifier of their importance to the narrative. But their thematic significance goes much further than just that. In a sense, the true heart of the story is Sophie's act of reflection on her own past; burdened by loss and guilt, she is driven to offer herself in an impossible scientific experiment as much by a quest for penance, appropriately a Catholic religious sacrament, as by scientific inquiry.

But even more than that, lurking behind every event in the story, pervading the entire thematic landscape of Sophie's journey, is the improbable Many Worlds Hypothesis; that for every moment that Sophie looks into a mirror, there may be an alternate 'mirrored' reality somewhere out there, staring back at her, where the undeviatingly manifest quantum coin toss landed tails instead of heads. And that is the ultimate self-reflective experience; to not only contemplate what might have been, but to truly sit in apprehension of the possibility that there is in fact an alternate, parallel reality where it actually came to pass. It is both the greatest mechanism of dream fulfillment--that in an alternate reality your regrets, losses and failures evaporate--and the greatest tragedy--that you cannot and will not ever consciously experience that reality--one could possibly ever imagine.

Regardless whether the relative state hypothesis is valid in experiential terms or it merely provides that there are infinite realities whose only difference is whether electrons spin up or down, there is still an undeniable and indomitable philosophical truth to be gleaned from its hypothetical musings-that all our lives are determined by a series of coin tosses, by events completely out of our own power to influence. Had they turned out differently, they would have exercised a profound influence on the course of our lives, and we may well be different people today for it. And while we may never exist alone in a perpetual state of permanent immortal consciousness (although, the notion does have its appeal), we must still concede the degree to which our lives, and the universe at large, are truly guided by events that are completely random.

And this is what Sophie's burden, her quest for understanding and enlightenment, is truly all about-to hoist up the immobile curtain and expose the hidden workings behind it, if only to provide meaning to her own conscious life experience. It is where science, spirituality, and philosophy all meet, for as astronomer Carl Sagan would have put it, they are all 'a quest for the Truth.' A truth that is, perhaps, unknowable. For we are not telepathic, we are not the Borg; we are only ever aware of our own consciousness. We can never know whether Schrodinger's cat is consciously self-aware, or to couch it in religious terms, whether Schrodinger's cat actually has a soul. Perhaps relative state got it right, that there is no consciousness but our own, and that everything else we experience in this universe is but a shadow looking back at us, like our reflection in a mirror.

But for our purposes here, the greatest irony of all is that The Quantum Suicide of Sophie Miller is itself a kind of mirror, a kind of reflection, because it is a movie, and the audience its final reflector. For each one of us will experience the story in our own way and identify in our own unique capacities with different parts of its dramatic tapestry, whether that is love lost, a struggle for penance, a thirst for forgiveness, a crusade for scientific discovery, a conflict of faith, or in my case, a fruitless endeavor to actually understand all the math. And that is its final beauty; that the experience of the film is, as Alice would put it, 'only what we make of it.' And I think I can speak for Matt, Darrell, Alexia, Kyle, Rebecca, and the rest of our phenomenally talented cast and crew when I say its an experience I cant wait to share with you.