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For Immediate Release





Starting Valentine’s Day, Students Asked to Submit Short Films or Videos Highlighting Impact of Positive Dad Involvement


CHEVY CHASE, MD – Tuesday, February 8, 2022 – DADvocacy Consulting Group's Daddy Appleseed Fund (DAF) and KIDS FIRST! announced today the official call for entries for the inaugural KIDS FIRST! Daddying Film Festival (KFDFF), which takes place June 13-20, the week leading up to and through Father’s Day weekend.


The KFDFF encourages students, 1st grade through college undergraduates, to express themselves and their perspectives on relationships with their dads or father figures by creating and submitting short films or videos for FREE with the theme “A Letter to My Father/Father Figure” starting on Valentine’s Day, February 14.


“KIDS FIRST! has developed an impeccable reputation and designed such a thoughtful film evaluation process, we’re proud to work with them on our first film festival,” said Allan Shedlin, founder, DADvocacy Consulting Group (DCG) and Daddy Appleseed Fund and KFDFF co-director. “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 – we wanted to provide students with a creative opportunity to express how they feel about the relationship they have or wish they had with their dads.”


“KIDS FIRST! Film Festival is delighted to co-host this dad-focused festival with the Daddy Appleseed Fund in celebration of KIDS FIRST!’s 30th anniversary. Daddying truly represents a mission and theme that resonates to our core,” said Ranny Levy, President, KIDS FIRST! and KFDFF co-director. “We respect Allan and his DADvocacy Consulting team’s integrity and look forward to offering audiences a unique collection of student-made films and adult-made, independent films honoring relationships with the most important men in their lives – their dad or father figure. What a great way to give students of all ages a platform to share their stories.”


Who Can Submit a Video for Consideration and How?

All students, 1st grade through college undergraduates, are eligible to submit their short films/videos for KFDFF juror consideration for FREE, starting February 14th. Students may submit 1- to 5-minute short films or videos in MP4 or MOV format for Festival consideration by registering and uploading them to the KIDS FIRST! Daddying Film Festival page:



The KFDFF Concept

KIDS FIRST! and the DAF created KFDFF to provide a stage for students to use film as a vehicle to communicate the importance and impact of fathers or father figures in their lives. The KFDFF celebrates creativity, authenticity, and communication skills and will help prepare students to think critically as they view film and other visual media. 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.


“We’re launching the Festival, during the third year of a global pandemic that has taken a disproportionate toll on children and those who serve and care for them,” said Shedlin. “It has prompted many of us to rethink what is fundamentally important and to explore new roles and living arrangements. It provides us a unique opportunity to examine and rethink the key role of parents and others who play a parenting role.”


Film Evaluation and Awards

KFDFF Awards will be presented to one winner in each of four grade-level categories at a virtual event the Friday (6/17) before Father's Day. Those categories are: 1) 1st through 4th grades, 2) 5th through 8th, 3) 9th through 12th, and 4) college undergraduates.


Winners in each category will receive an “Atticus,” which symbolizes Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. 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 and the openness and honesty of “telling it like it is.” Atticus Award winners will be determined by public votes cast online during the KFDFF. Atticus Award winners 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.


Initial jurying of all submitted films will be done by juries of students and adults. Every film accepted by the juries will be passed on to a panel of industry VIP/celebrity judges (TBA), which will select up to five Atticus Award finalists (aka "nominees”) in each grade-level category. All finalists will receive a $250 Daddy Appleseed Fund award for use toward an activity or project to enjoy with their father/father figure.


Judging Criteria

Student jurors will be trained by KIDS FIRST! to critically judge all festival entries. The criteria kid and adult jurors will use to evaluate each film reflect 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.


“I love how the KIDS FIRST! Daddying Film Festival’s theme and program showcase dads from a kid’s perspective,” said actor/producer/director David Alan Basche, whose daughter has volunteered to serve as an early Festival juror. “Kids expressing themselves through film and also evaluating their peers’ short-films as judges is sure to get them thinking more critically about the value and impact of content they consume in today’s media.”


Each film selected as an Award finalist for screening during the KFDFF will be accompanied by a discussion guide created by REEL FATHERS to encourage dialogue between youth and adult viewers. In addition to the call for entries, KFDFF is reaching out to additional event sponsors, partners, as well as celebrity judges and presenters.


What is “Daddying?”
The word “daddying,” coined by Shedlin in 1994, is what happens when fatherhood and nurturing converge in service to a father’s child. It is a process requiring active involvement and a lifelong commitment to a child’s physical, emotional, social, intellectual, creative, and moral/spiritual well-being.


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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 entertainment industry leaders, teachers, librarians, media professionals, lobbyists, policymakers, child advocates, educators, 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 and colleagues and 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, contact:        Scott Beller

                                                            DCG Director of Communications

                                                            scott [at] daddywishesfund [dot] com

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