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Daddying Film Festival Atticus Award statuette
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What is the Daddying Film Festival & Forum (D3F)?

DADvocacy Consulting Group's Daddy Appleseed Fund created the 1st annual Daddying Film Festival, which ran June 13-20, 2022. The expanded Daddying Film Festival & Forum (D3F) took place two weeks before Father's Day in June 2023. D3F provides a stage for 1st-grade through college undergraduate students, Dads/Dad figures, and other indie filmmakers to use film as a vehicle to communicate the importance of having or being an involved Dad.


The D3F celebrates creativity, authenticity, and communication skills and, more specifically, helps prepare students to think critically as they view films and videos. Because a child’s relationship with their father is not always a positive one, the D3F acknowledges that submissions may also express the sorrow – or "daddy yearning" – filmmakers may feel when a positive father figure either has been absent from their lives or may not be present in the way he or she wants/needs them to be.


Students, Dads/Dad figures, and indie filmmakers create short films/videos for the D3F that adhere to one of the following three themes:

  1. A letter to my father OR A letter to my child(ren)

  2. The most joyful/fun thing I ever did with my father and/or child(ren)

  3. If I could make one wish come true for my dad and/or child(ren) it would be...

CLICK HERE to Follow DCG and #D3F on Instagram!

The D3F Concept

The word “daddying” is what happens when fatherhood and nurturing converge in service to a father’s child. A daddying role can be played by just about anyone else in a young person’s life, including a granddad, uncle, older sibling, coach, or teacher.


Our relationship with our father – in its presence or its absence – is one of the most important relationships in our lives. It is foundational in our youth and can echo through generations.


Because kids are most directly impacted by a dad’s involvement – or his absence – it was a no-brainer for D3F to provide them with an opportunity to express how they feel about the relationship they have or wish they had with their dads.


Who Can Submit a Video for Consideration?

All students (1st grade through college/university undergrads) and Dad filmmakers are eligible to submit short films/videos (under 10 minutes) for D3F juror consideration for a nominal fee. Please note that FilmFreeway, the platform vendor we use to accept online entries, requires kids under 18 to get parental permission when registering to submit a film/video.

Other independent (adult, non-student) filmmakers and studios may submit short or feature-length films/videos to D3F for a small entry fee. Non-dad, adult entries will be considered for Festival screening and Atticus Award trophies only and are not eligible for Daddy Appleseed Fund cash awards (details below). 

ALL films submitted to the D3F for consideration must relate in some way to one of three D3F themes (above).


How to Submit Your Short Film

Students and Dads may submit a short film/video (in MP4 or MOV format) for consideration by registering and uploading their film to the D3F FilmFreeway page. Adult, indie filmmakers may submit films of any length. Please visit the D3F website for more information about 2023 registration, Festival deadlines, and more details about the June event.

When Will the Daddying Film Festival & Forum Be Held?

The virtual D3F will run June 4-11, 2023The first annual Daddying Film Forum will take place in New Mexico on Saturday and Sunday, June 24 (Albuquerque) and 25 (Santa Fe).


D3F Awards will be presented to one winner in each of four grade-level categories at a virtual event on Sunday, June 11, 2023 (the week before Father's Day).


The D3F 2023 judging categories were:

  1. 1st through 4th grade (elementary)

  2. 5th through 8th grade (middle school)

  3. 9th through 12th grade (high school)

  4. College/university (undergraduate)

  5. Best Feature Film (non-student/indie filmmakers)

  6. Best Short Film (open to all filmmakers)

  7. Best Dad-created Film, aka, the Roy R. Neuberger Prize


Winners in each grade-level category earn an “Atticus,” a statuette to symbolize Atticus Finch from the 1962 film based on Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird. The book was recently voted the best book of the last 125 years by more than 200,000 NY Times Book Review readers.

Atticus Finch, an iconic single dad, represents several ideal daddying qualities. Specifically, he is attuned to his children’s feelings and ideas and takes the children as seriously as they take themselves. To many, his character symbolizes morality and justice. The fact that the story is narrated by his young daughter, Scout, adds to the importance of the symbolism of this award as it represents the simplicity of childhood observation together with the openness and honesty of "telling it like it is." The American Film Institute (AFI) hailed Gregory Peck's film performance as Finch as "the greatest movie hero of all time."

All student finalists earn a $250 Daddy Appleseed Fund award for use toward an activity or project to enjoy with their father/father figure together with a formal certificate. Up to five (5) finalists can be named in each grade-level and other voting category. Winners in each student category also earn a generous scholarship (amount TBD) to advance their studies or to create a program or project to encourage positive father involvement. The dad/dad figure winner of the Roy R. Neuberger Prize earns a $500 award to use toward an activity or project with their child(ren).

Judging Criteria

Preliminary student and adult jurors evaluate and narrow the pool of D3F entries to those which will move on for judging by a panel of academic and entertainment industry professional judges. VIP judges select up to five (5) finalists in each of the four grade-level categories and three "Best..." voting categories. Winners are announced during a virtual awards ceremony at the end of the week-long festival.


Voting to determine the six Atticus Award winners and Roy R. Neuberger Prize is open to the public/D3F attendees and conducted online during Festival week. 

The criteria our initial student and adult jurors use to evaluate each D3F-themed film submission are a direct reflection of the Daddying Film Festival & Forum’s mission:


  • To shine a spotlight on the importance and impact of fathers/father figures in their presence and in their absence.

  • To provide an opportunity for sons and daughters to reflect upon and express their feelings and wishes about what daddying qualities are most important to them.

  • To provide opportunities for emotional authenticity, creativity, and originality.

  • To portray a variety of family dynamics in order to explore and encourage constructive relationships.

  • To demonstrate film- and/or video-making skills and production values.

To view a copy of the complete D3F juror evaluation form, click HERE.

Student Resources For Short Filmmaking

Do your student filmmakers need a little inspiration or guidance to help them plan their visual "love letters" to their dads, father figures...or the dads they wish they had? Have them check out this D3F "5 Steps to a 5-Minute Film" infographic to get them started! And here are a few more how-to resources they may find helpful:

  • Filmmaking for Kids - A quick, 1-minute lesson for younger kids)

  • Filmmaking Tips and Advice for Aspiring Filmmakers - Maybe better for kids, 4th grade+

  • How To Make A Video: Film and Editing Tips for Kids - A video by kids for kids, especially younger students

  • Eyecandy: Visual Technique Library - Great resource for filmmakers of all ages to get lost in!


Atticus, Scout and Jem Finch
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