With over 400 submissions worldwide, a Nortonville family won the overall top prize at the 2020 Quarantine Film Festival last Sunday.

Matt Long, an award-winning filmmaker in his own right, saw an opportunity for his family to take part in one of his passions.

“We talked about it and decided that we would do something as a family,” he said. “We sat down a couple of times to discuss what we would do and what the story could be about and we all came to a conclusion, so I got a storyline in my head about what I thought we could do as far as getting shots.”

Over two weekends in April, Long and his family wrote and shot the short film “Tell Us a Story.”

Part of the competition’s guidelines were that filmmakers could only use what and who lived in their homes, and they could only film on their property, said Jessica Long, Matt’s wife. Their oldest daughter, Zoe, said that it was enjoyable to create the film.

“It was really fun, especially since we were able to do it together, and having to work with each other and learning how to work with each other,” she said. “We had thought about the film for a while, or well, my dad did. It was his idea originally because he likes doing all the film stuff. He wanted to incorporate us so that it would be more of a family thing.”

Zoe said they worked together to create the story.

“I think it was important because we were able to incorporate each of our differences, and we brought a lot of things to the table to make the movie,” she said.

In the film, both Long and his daughters, Zoe and Izzy, were the cast. Long directed the movie, and his wife shot the film. “Tell Us a Story” is about Long telling his daughters a bedtime story. That story is a sci-fi quest that’s one-part “Star Wars” another part “Avengers,” with a pinch of “Star Trek.”

The story Long tells his daughters is “Zoe Neptune and the Quest for the Genesis Gems.” Neptune is on a quest to restore light to her planet and the universe, which was placed in darkness by the evil emperor Czar Khan. She travels to where the last gem is located, with the Princess of Light. Neptune had to convince the princess to help restore light to the universe.

“It was super fun because we got to put on makeup, put on dresses, and go barefoot,” Izzy said. “We got to spend a lot of time together and work together.”

Long said we all have hobbies and things that we enjoy doing, but he encourages people to find a way to incorporate their family into those moments and activities.

“We all need that escape, something we can do that’s a hobby or something we enjoy, something we can go and do when we just need to get our brain away from anything,” he said. “But, I think that finding ways to incorporate our family and then letting them know that they can be a part of that part of your life is incredibly important.”

Long said he could have all the accolades in the world, but if he didn’t connect with his family, it wouldn’t be worth it.

“We can do all kinds of stuff, but whatever we accomplish in life, probably our greatest thing that we can accomplish will be what we do with our family,” he said.

The Longs film was nominated in three categories at the festival and placed in each. They won 2nd place for the social distancing award, which was the best use of quarantine with the people and props they had. They also placed 2nd for the break free award, which was awarded for the best concept. The Longs won 1st in the Quarantine Awesomeness Award, which was the top prize.

Long said winning the top award was shocking.

“There were a lot of other films in there that were really good, really well done, so we were rather surprised to win the whole thing,” he said. “There were over 400 submissions from all over the world, so for us to win is a pretty big deal, we were all pretty excited about it.”

To see their film go to bit.ly/Long_TellUsAStory.

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