“It’s In My ZNA!”
Above: Jordan Renville (‘20), Zamien Allard (‘19), and Alec Kyritsis (‘20) shooting for the ZNA documentary.
For many Packer students, exercise is defined by the minimum amount of work required to earn a gym credit or stay in shape. For Zamien Allard (‘19), however, fitness is much more than just a credit or an obligatory task. Zamien has turned fitness and calisthenics (a type of gymnastic-like exercise that focuses on your own bodyweight) into a lifestyle and a passion, and for the past couple of months he, along with a handful of other Packer students, has been working to showcasing his “fitness journey” in a documentary.
The idea to make a film about Zamien’s fitness and calisthenics journey started to develop after he wrote a personal story about his experience on the varsity cross country team in his creative nonfiction class, and his teacher urged him to deliver a senior speech on the topic of fitness. Although he did not like the idea of a senior speech, Zamien did want to share his own story with the Packer community. He enlisted some of his friends who had an interest in filmmaking to help him, and the “ZNA” documentary was born.
“I’ve been doing this photography thing for a while, and I’ve always hated making videos, but I decided after symposium—I did NYC in Film—it would actually be something I’d be willing to do,” said Jordan Renville (‘20), who is the co-director and Director of Photography for the documentary. “Zamien was already in the symposium with me, as well as Alec and Adam, so I was like, ‘We should just do this thing.’”Alongside Jordan and Zamien, the documentary crew is comprised of Alec Kyritsis (‘20), who is the co-director and editor, Zach Garfield (‘19), who is the producer, and Adam Kaplan (‘19), who is the adviser and main cameraman.
The documentary started off as a movie for Zamien’s fitness Instagram account (@zna_calisthenicz), but has developed into a much larger film, focusing on not just fitness and running, but also on who Zamien is as a person in relation to fitness.
“It’s definitely evolved from one small thing to the overarching personality of Zamien,” said Jordan. “We’ve had to focus on many more aspects of him to actually make a proper documentary.”
Zamien hopes that the Packer community will benefit from hearing his story and that watching the documentary will inspire those around him to explore fitness.
“I’m excited for them to see my story; hopefully they’ll get something out of it. I came into high school not really expecting fitness to be a huge part of my life, and now here I am a senior making a documentary about it. Hopefully it can, in a way, be my senior speech to the Packer community.”
The Packer Film Festival is coming up soon, which is where the ZNA documentary will make its first big premiere, but there are hopes of having the film entered in some bigger competitions outside of Packer as well. The documentary is not only about how fitness and exercise can impact a person’s life but specifically about Zamien and how his story can motivate the Packer community in ways it has not been motivated before.
“People who actually know Zamien and know Zamien’s story are so inspired by him,” said Zach. “This documentary is for the people who don’t know him so well, so they can get some inspiration from him, too.”