Richmond family’s film accepted in first QIFF

A Richmond family wasn’t expecting much when they joined the world’s first Quarantine International Film Festival with only an iPhone, a phone app and an $8 clip-on lens.

So, Adam Zimmerman, a Richmond resident and independent filmmaker, along with his family of four, was surprised when they received an honourable mention at the Quarantine International Film Festival (QIFF) – started by Canadian producers and actors Spencer Streichert and Siobhan Cooney – during the Top 40 award nominees announcement earlier this month.

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“It was exciting when we found out; my two sons were happy to see their hard work had paid off and couldn’t wait to send it to their teachers,” said Zimmerman, adding that over 600 films were submitted worldwide.

“Personally, I’ve made films for festivals and this is the first one to be accepted and that was exciting.”

When a close friend first suggested he submit something to QIFF for fun during the spring break, Zimmerman wasn’t particularly keen on the idea.

“At first I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to do it, but I thought about giving the kids something to do, so I asked them if they wanted me to write something up,” said Zimmerman. Although, he didn’t have much confidence he would even be able to think of something that would fit the organizers’ theme, which was “Bear/Bare.”

Along with his wife, Trayce Zimmerman, who produced the film, Adam got to work filming his older son Dallas, 11, giving his younger brother Jackson, eight, a grammar lesson on homonyms.

Jackson Zimmerman (left) and his brother Dallas Zimmerman in their short film, A Grammar Lesson. Photo screenshot

The film starts off with Jackson dreading his vocabulary test and Dallas trying to explain what a homonym is, and goes on to show the two brothers playing video games while listing examples of words that sound the same but have different meanings. The younger brother ends up losing the video game as he’s so focused on the homonym conversation.

Adam told the Richmond News that he decided on a silent film because he didn’t have proper sound equipment to record on set and wanted to make a film that was the “easiest and most effective” with homophones as the content.

“I get mixed up myself with homophones and having subtitles in the silent film helped decreased the confusion for everyone,” he added.

The organizers of QIFF were expecting only about 20 of their friends to submit a film, said Adams, but the festival somehow “blew up” into a world-wide event and is now on its second edition of submissions.

“(The film) was mostly a fun and very smooth experience, which is rare on any film sets, and I think because we shot it very quickly … it’s what kept it fun for the kids.”

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