Daddy Appleseed Fund Partners With
KIDS FIRST! For Inaugural Daddying Film Fest (KFDFF)

Calling for Student-Made Short Films Celebrating Involved Dads and Self-Expression


What Is the KIDS FIRST! Daddying Film Festival (KFDFF)?

DADvocacy Consulting Group's Daddy Appleseed Fund and KIDS FIRST! have conceived and launched a Call for Entries to the inaugural KIDS FIRST! Daddying Film Festival (KFDFF), which will run June 13-20, 2022. The KFDFF will provide a stage for students to use film as a vehicle to communicate the importance of fathers or father figures in their lives.


The KFDFF celebrates creativity, authenticity, and communication skills and helps prepare students to think critically as they view film and videos. Because a child’s relationship with their father is not always a positive one, the KFDFF acknowledges that student submissions may also express the sorrow – or "daddy yearning" – they 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.


For the KFDFF, students will create short films/videos with the theme: “A Letter to My Father/Father Figure.” These video "letters" will illustrate that being a dad or father figure is not just who you are, it’s what you do.

CLICK HERE to register for your FREE all-access KFDFF pass and get a sneak peek

at some films/videos you'll be able to stream during Festival week, June 13-20.

Click to Follow #KFDFF on Instagram!

The KFDFF 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 us 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 undergraduates, are eligible to submit their short films/videos for KFDFF juror consideration for FREE. Please note that FilmFreeway, the platform vendor used to accept online entries, requires kids to provide their student ID number when registering to submit their film/video.


Adult independent filmmakers and studios may submit films/videos to KFDFF for consideration and for a small entry fee. Adult entries will be considered for Festival screening only and are not eligible to be named Festival finalists or for Atticus Award voting. 

How to Submit Your Short Film

Students may submit a 1- to 5-minute short film/video (preferably in MP4 or MOV format) for consideration beginning February 14, 2022, by clicking the button at the top of this page, which will take them to the KFDFF page at: https://filmfreeway.com/KIDSFIRSTDaddyingFilmFestival

When Will the KIDS FIRST! Daddying Film Festival Be Held and Winners Announced?

Preliminary kid and adult jurors will evaluate and narrow the pool of KFDFF entries to those which will move on for judging by a panel of celebrity and other industry professional judges (TBA). VIP judges will select up to five (5) finalists in each of four grade-level categories (see below). Those finalists will be announced in late May or early June.


Voting to determine the four Atticus Award winners will be open to the public/KFDFF attendees and conducted online during the Festival. 


KFDFF Awards will be presented to one winner in each of four grade-level categories at a virtual event on Saturday, June 18, 2022 (the day before Father's Day), and also a "live" event in Santa Fe at the Muse Studios (pending covid restrictions) on Monday, June 20.


The four judging categories are:

  1. 1st through 4th grade (elementary school)

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

  3. 9th through 12th (high school)

  4. College/university (undergraduate)


Winners in each grade-level category will receive an “Atticus,” a statuette to symbolize Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s 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 performance as Finch in the 1962 film based on Lee's book as "the greatest movie hero of all time."

All student finalists will receive 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. There will be up to five (5) finalists named in each grade-level category. Winners in each category also will receive a generous scholarship (amount TBD) to advance their studies or to create a program or project that will encourage positive father involvement.

Judging Criteria

The criteria our initial kid and adult jurors will use to evaluate each student-created film are a direct reflection of the KIDS FIRST! Daddying Film Festival’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 KFDFF 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 KFDFF "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:


Atticus, Scout and Jem Finch