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  • Writer's pictureAllan Shedlin

How We're Embarking on A Daddying Mission of JOY for the New Year

Updated: Jan 6, 2023

By Allan Shedlin

Grampsy, DADvocacy Consulting Group Founder, and D3F Director

Since 2023 will bring the arrival of the 2nd annual Daddying Film Festival & Forum (D3F) and this is our first Daddying post of the New Year, it seems fitting to begin by recommending an extraordinary film titled Mission: JOY Finding Happiness in Troubled Times. This timely film documents the incredible friendship between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu – both beloved father figures to so many around the world. Despite their different journeys, these two "mischievous spiritual brothers" made happiness a habit – finding joy in adversity and fighting for a better world.

It’s a perfect film to watch with family and friends.

You can now find Mission Joy on Netflix or rent/buy through your favorite on-demand streaming service (proceeds from all film sales and rentals help underwrite bringing the film to marginalized and underserved communities around the globe).

We first discovered Mission Joy when it opened FilmFest DC last April at Washington, DC's, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library. As the D3F Team continues to educate itself about the world of film festivals and endeavors to optimize opportunities for positive dad-child-family outcomes, we're trying to attend a few other festivals when possible. DADvisory teammate Jenise Davis and I, along with the rest of the overflow audience, left the festival feeling uplifted and believing Mission Joy would be a perfect film viewing to begin a New Year.

Designed by Ana Mei, 11

D3F will begin accepting submissions for this year’s Festival on Martin Luther King Day, January 16, via FilmFreeway. Currently, we are assembling our panel of student jurors and will conduct our first training session for them – together with KIDS FIRST! Coalition for Quality Children’s Media – on Saturday, February 11. If you know any students who would like to become jurors or if you would like more information about this opportunity, please CONTACT US. Note that many schools provide service learning/community service credits for participation.

As far as we have been able to determine, D3F, is the only film festival in the world with a singular focus on daddying and that features short films created by students, the “consumers of daddying.” This year, D3F will expand its Call for Entries to also accept films submitted by fathers/father figures in order to broaden the dialogue. As children are at the center of what we do, our new Festival logo was designed by Ana Mei, an 11-year-old middle-school student in New York City. And our gorgeous promotional poster was created by 17-year-old Gabriela, a New Mexican high-school student.

Designed by Gabriela, 17

This month, we will devote all our Daddying posts to various topics and updates about D3F. We also would joyfully receive your questions about the Festival, like to hear from you if you have an exuberant desire to be involved in D3F, and want your recommendations for any films you feel can prompt constructive discussion about the importance of dads – in their presence or absence. We will share a list of those films in our final blog post this month.

As the lyrics for the traditional Scottish folk song, Auld Lang Syne suggest as we say goodbye to the old year and ring in a new one, may the world “drink a cup (or two) of kindness.”


Allan Shedlin has devoted his life’s work to improving the odds for children and families. He has three daughters, and five grandchildren, as well as numerous "bonus" sons/daughters and grandchildren. Trained as an educator, Allan has alternated between classroom service, school leadership, parenting coaching, policy development, and advising at the local, state, and national levels. After eight years as an elementary school principal, Allan founded and headed the National Elementary School Center for 10 years. In the 1980s, he began writing about education and parenting for major news outlets and education trade publications, as well as appearing on radio and TV. In 2008, he was honored as a "Living Treasure" by Mothering Magazine and founded REEL Fathers in Santa Fe, NM, where he now serves as president emeritus. In 2017, he founded the DADvocacy Consulting Group. In 2018, he launched the DADDY Wishes Fund and Daddy Appleseed Fund. In 2019, he co-created and began co-facilitating the Armor Down/Daddy Up! and Mommy Up! programs. He has conducted daddying workshops in such diverse settings as Native American pueblos, veterans groups, nursery schools, penitentiaries, Head Start centers, corporate boardrooms, and various elementary schools, signifying the widespread interest in men in becoming the best possible dad. In 2022, Allan founded and co-directed the Daddying Film Festival & Forum to enable students, dads, and other indie filmmakers to use film as a vehicle to communicate the importance of fathers or father figures in each others' lives. Allan earned his elementary and high school diplomas from NYC’s Ethical Culture Schools, BA at Colgate University, MA at Columbia University’s Teachers College, and an ABD at Fordham University. But he considers his D-A-D and GRAND D-A-D the most important “degrees” of all.


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