Arts and Entertainment

'The Scientist,' in Kitsap through April, asks, 'What happens when you die?' | The Reel Thing

If there is a harder question to answer, it hasn’t yet been asked.

“What do you think happens when you die?” wonders a character in “The Scientist,” a Gypsyhouse Entertainment film coming to Kitsap through April. “What continues on then, if it’s just your body that dies?”

The question is one the film doesn’t necessarily attempt to answer. Rather, it opens avenues for thought, so that its viewers can come to their own conclusions, solidify their own convictions or, perhaps, form new ones.

With concepts like multiverse and parallel consciousness, it’s a film based more in science than any religious or political inclination. It follows physicist Marcus Ryan (Bill Sage, “Precious,” “American Psycho”), a man hardly functioning after the death of his wife and young daughter. To ease his pain, he secretly constructs a psuedo-generator, which releases an energy that propels him toward a higher level of consciousness. Or is it another dimension? An alien? A god?

There are shades here of science fiction, of philosophical wandering, but slightly so, as if filmmaker Zach LeBeau means to ask more questions than he gives answers.

“The unique thing about it is that there is a lot of science-versus-faith type concepts in it, but I think when it comes down to the ultimate fruition of what it means, it’s all going toward the same place,” he said. “This film is not going to spoon feed you exposition. It’s going to engage you to help make up your own mind of what’s going on.”

LeBeau, with a scientific approach he said can be bent and adapted to those with religious mindsets (a higher dimension could mean heaven), moves against the notion that film messages must be pedantic and instead treats his audience as intelligent, taking on an unknown considered by most everyone.

“I want to be part of a revolution of mind and spirit here,” he said. “I really believe that every human being thinks about what’s going to happen after they die.”

Filmed in Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota, with a crew just shy of 100, “The Scientist” has a production value uncommon among indie films. Its visuals are crisp and bright, as earthly as the plot is metaphysical.

LeBeau said some have questioned the film’s intentions, wondering if there is a hidden agenda. He assures there isn’t one, and that it is instead about the balance of positive and negative existence: “It’s all about transcending our own limitations and preconceived notions and all the things that we encapsulate ourselves or imprison ourselves with,” he said. “It’s there for a celebration of life.”

“The Scientist” is opening in 60 locations throughout the country, some of them big cities, many of them towns the size of or smaller than Poulsbo. Gypsyhouse Entertainment strives for a grass roots and organic movement in film, a billion-dollar industry. LeBeau talked on the responsibility of movie-making, and putting to good use money that could otherwise build schools or hospitals.

A native of the Midwest, he spent time traveling the world, developing a holistic worldview and a penchant for storytelling. He self-published a book while living on a sailboat in the Caribbean before meeting his wife in Hungary and working in the European entertainment industry. At one point, he worked as an assistant — and three-episode arch actor — on the show “Star Trek: Voyager.”

Next, LeBeau, 35, will work on a documentary about the harmony of difference. Learn more about “The Scientist” at www.thescientistmovie.com. WU

What do you think happens when you die?

“The Scientist” opens April 16 for one week only at the Historic Orchard Theater in Port Orchard. It opens April 23 for one week only at The Bainbridge Cinemas. The director will hold Q&A sessions, with times to be announced. For ticket prices and show times visit www.farawayentertainment.com.

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