A mysterious encounter between a man who claims to be from the future and the man that he claims is his former self.
Raffling a tremendous success with their previous short film ‘The Grey Matter‘ premiered and featured on Film Shortage, the McCoubrey brothers decided to ride the momentum to create a new lo-fi sci-fi short film on time travel. The synopsis might sound familiar, where a man encounters his self from the future, but ‘Therefore I Am’ springs apart on the psychological level, with a surreal and suspenseful time travel story that loosely operates in accordance to the paradox-less MWI (many-worlds interpretation) in quantum mechanics.
Once released online, our last short THE GREY MATTER found a great audience and received a fair amount of critical success. In fact, aside from amazing support from some of our favorite movie websites and being invited to screen at film festivals… it led to us having meetings with several agents, managers, and movie studio executives. We even had the incredible opportunity to pitch on a feature film property at a major studio. So, even though we had depleted much of our savings making THE GREY MATTER, we wanted to try to chase that buzz and quickly turn around another short.
Following their passion for genre films, Peter had a partially written time travel idea involving paradox free time travel. A story that proved to be not very budget friendly, so he took the core logic of it and wrote something new that could be done quickly and relatively bare bones. A practice that we encourage so often, especially with young filmmakers. In this case, the bare bone idea was enough to pull away from the typical time-travel physics, bringing in a different type of equation.
Traditionally, the way time travel is depicted in popular films like Back to the Future, The Terminator, and Looper (all films we love) the is that if you go back and alter the past in any way, it will create a butterfly effect that directly impacts a character’s future/present. That’s of course an endlessly fun hook that creates high stakes and allows for really dynamic sci-fi storytelling. We thought what if you took that paradox out of the equation? Could there still a captivating aspect to time travel that doesn’t involve a Grandfather Paradox? So I read up on all the leading physics theories that allow room for the plausibility of time travel in our universe.
One of the theories that I found interesting was called MWI or Many-worlds Interpretation. This theory imagines that every time you travel back in time you enter an alternate dimension in which your actions have no direct impact on your own existence. So we thought – what if you could travel back in time to try to fix a mistake from your past… with the only benefit being, you get to live as a spectator to an alternate version of your younger self, as he sets out to not repeat your mistake… would anyone do it? It’s funny because although structured as a psychological thriller, at it’s root, the story is about loss so deep that your willing to sacrifice your own present just to know that your mistake was righted somewhere in the universe. Although, in spite of our best efforts… change doesn’t always come easy.
After watching this your head might feel like the main character from ‘The Grey Matter’, and then you’ll watch it again. The McCoubrey’s love enigmatic films, evidently, and they hope that the film works on two levels for it’s audience. One, where you find it strange and mysterious, and enjoy it on a purely visceral level. The other, where you pay close attention to all the details, really try to dig in deep and figure out the true nature of how these character’s timelines are intersecting.
All the clues are in there, but we tried to be pretty subtle with them. Hopefully both audiences can enjoy the film in their own ways.