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Virtual Festival Attracts Filmmakers From 17 Countries in 1st Year,

Attendees Cast Hundreds of Votes to Determine Top Student and Indie Films



CHEVY CHASE, MD – Saturday, June 18, 2022 – The DADvocacy Consulting Group's (DCG) Daddy Appleseed Fund (DAF) and KIDS FIRST! announced today the student and independent filmmaker Atticus Award winners for the inaugural KIDS FIRST! Daddying Film Festival during an online ceremony hosted by Albuquerque, NM, inaugural poet laureate and DCG DADvisory Team member Hakim Bellamy.


Our 2022 KFDFF Award winners are:


Elementary School (1st-4th grade): Wicked Witch by Virginia Adams, USA, age 10


Middle School (5th-8th grade): A Letter to My Dad by Brock Brenner, USA, age 11


High School (9th-12th grade): Hey Dad, It's Me by Leela Malladi, USA, age 18


College undergraduate: Pater et Filio by Pablo De Estrada, Argentina/Canada, age 28


Best Indie Short Film: My Other Son (Mi Otro Hijo) by Gustavo Alonso, Argentina


Best Indie Feature Film: Jack and the Treehouse by Jim Schneider, USA


Student and indie KFDFF winners received an “Atticus,” a trophy that symbolizes Atticus Finch from the film To Kill a Mockingbird, based on the novel by Harper Lee. 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. Along with their Atticus trophy, student winners also received an additional $500 award to advance their studies, create a project/activity to do with their dad or father figure, or create a project encouraging positive dad involvement.


Atticus Awards were presented to student and indie winners in a live, online ceremony on Saturday, June 18. The virtual KFDFF continues through Father’s Day weekend, culminating on Monday, June 20.


KFDFF Judging Criteria

Before films were considered by the VIP judging panel to select finalists, all student and non-student (indie) submissions were screened and evaluated by KIDS FIRST!/DADvocacy Consulting Group youth and adult preliminary jurors. The criteria jurors used to evaluate each film submission are reflected in KFDFF ’s mission:


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

  • To provide an opportunity for children 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.


A copy of the complete KFDFF juror evaluation form can be found HERE.


Other 2022 KFDFF Finalists

All student finalists received a $250 award for use toward an activity or project to enjoy with their dad/dad figure. Our 2022 KFDFF finalists included:


Elementary: My Dad Anthony Fleg by Shandíín E Fleg, age 7


Middle School: I Scream by Marino, 13, San Domenico School Film program, P.S. I Love You by Kaari Sholeen Tabor, 13, He Teaches Me by Bah’Hozhooni N Fleg, 11, and The Good Dad by Felice, 14, San Domenico School Film program


High School: Walk With Me by Yohan and Joaquin, San Domenico School Film program, and Delhi Days by Eshaan Mani, 16


College undergraduate: My Father’s Son by Kyle Davison, 24


Independent/non-student Filmmakers: Dad for Hire by Aaron Scully, Australia, Red Balloon by Avi Federgreen, Canada, How the Titanic Became My Lifeboat by Bjarney Ludviksdottir, Iceland, Rainbow Stories – Peter, Mark, James and Einstein by Adam Bailey, United Kingdom, Make It Count by Romeo Jennison, USA, Baggage by Einat Keshet, Israel, and Christmas Summer by Ignacio Borderes, Argentina.


KFDFF VIP Judging Panelists

Once films passed review and were selected for the Festival by the KIDS FIRST!/DCG preliminary jurors, a VIP panel of experts from the entertainment industry, arts, and academia narrowed the field of student and independent films to name the finalists for attendee voting. Our KFDFF VIP judging panel included:


  1. Alysia Reiner, award-winning stage and screen actress, producer, mother, humanitarian, and outspoken environmentalist. Alysia officially joined the Marvel-verse as Agent Sadie Deever on the new Disney+ series Ms. Marvel. Before that, Alysia was best known for playing Natalie “Fig” Figueroa in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, for which she won a Screen Actors Guild Award as part of the ensemble cast. “Speed Grieving,” the award-winning short film Alysia created and starred in, is now used as a grief counseling tool in every Cancer Support Community center in the country.

  2. David Alan Basche, actor, producer, director best known for the role he played for 5 seasons on the hit TV Land sitcom The Exes. He also starred as Debra Messing's despicable ex-husband in the hit USA Network series The Starter Wife. His other TV credits include recurring roles on Frasier and Rescue Me, as well as guest spots on CSI: Miami, Blue Bloods, Chicago PD, all the Law & Order shows, Ed, Elementary, and As The World Turns. In films, he can be seen calling the title fight for Hugh Jackman in Real Steel, chasing Matt Damon in The Adjustment Bureau, and stealing Tom Cruise’s wife in Spielberg’s War of the Worlds. David portrayed passenger Todd Beamer (famous for his last words of “let’s roll”) in Universal’s Oscar-winning film UNITED 93.

  3. Margaret Parsons, film curator who founded the film program at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, where she was Head of Film for more than 30 years. She has served as board member for major film organizations, including the Robert Flaherty Seminar and Washington Environmental Film Festival, and on the editorial boards for The Moving Image and the Getty Trust’s Program for Art on Film. She has been a judge for a number of international film festivals and her work in film preservation has earned her awards from the governments of France, Czech Republic, Italy, Romania, and Georgia.

  4. Dr. Carol Darcy, a lifelong educator who worked with the World Organization for Early Childhood Education’s US Chapter to organize an annual “film festival” at the National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC) conference until 2016. She is an advocate for appropriate and skillful use of media for young children, families, and teachers, and created the professional development workshop “Being A Pro-Active Media Literacy Advocate.”

  5. Fredda Weiss, film producer and member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 1987, she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Film for producing Love Struck.


Atticus Award online voting by KFDFF attendees began on the Festival’s opening day, Monday, June 13, and continued through Friday, June 17.



KFDFF encouraged students, 1st graders through college undergraduates, to express themselves and their perspectives on relationships with their dads or dad figures by creating and submitting 1- to 5-minute short films or videos for FREE with the theme “A Letter to My Father/Father Figure.” The KFDFF provides a stage for kids to use film as a vehicle to communicate the importance and impact of dads/father figures in their lives.



The Coalition for Quality Children's Media is a national, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, founded in 1991, whose mission is to teach children critical viewing skills and to increase the visibility and availability of quality children's media. The Coalition's KIDS FIRST! program evaluates, rates, and endorses films, DVDs, audio recordings, TV shows, digital media, apps, screenplays, and games using volunteer, community-based juries of adults and children from diverse backgrounds and offers a variety of means to showcase and enhance consumer awareness of endorsed products. The KIDS FIRST! Film Critics program is a national group of 65+ youth reporters that offer entertainment news For Kids, By Kids. Their written and videotaped reviews and coverage reach as many as 7 million people per release. KIDS FIRST! is supported by major industry leaders, teachers, librarians, media professionals, policymakers, child advocates, parents, and families nationwide. Support comes from national nonprofits, including the National Education Association, REEL Fathers, National Assoc of Elementary School Principals, and the National Council of Women’s Organizations, with a cumulative membership of over 17 million.



The DADvocacy Consulting Group (DCG) acknowledges the vital roles of fathers and mothers alike. Founded in 2017 by Allan Shedlin, DCG’s mission is to enable every father to become the dad he wants to be – for the good of his children and/or grandchildren, his family, his community, and himself. DCG brings together a team of DADvocates from diverse backgrounds – each with more than 20 years experience in the fatherhood field. Shedlin founded the Daddy Appleseed Fund and Daddy Wishes Fund in 2018 and launched the Daddying blog in February 2020 to amplify the voices of a broad diversity of parents, colleagues, and, occasionally, their kids to raise awareness and promote the benefits of lifelong dad involvement.


The Daddy Appleseed Fund (DAF) exists to support organizations that use creative means to encourage positive involvement by fathers and father figures with their children. Created in 2018 as a donor-advised fund at the Greater Washington Community Foundation (GWCF), the DAF is tax-exempt and can receive donations through GWCF. Given its benefactor, DCG founder Allan Shedlin’s long history of hands-on experience working with children, fathers, and families, the DAF is well-aware of the need to support organizations whose idealism, passion, commitment, creativity, and gumption exceed their limited resources. Thus, the DAF seeks out smaller organizations in which its funds will have the greatest impact. The DAF has often approached such organizations with ideas for creating unusual methodologies and programs. It is partial to the arts and to under-served, diverse populations.


For more information about the KFDFF or DCG, contact by email:                     

Scott Beller, DCG Director of Communications. scott [AT] daddywishesfund [DOT] com 

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