top of page
  • Writer's pictureAllan Shedlin

Onward to The Daddying Film Festival Sequel!

By Allan Shedlin

Grampsy and Founder, DADvocacy Consulting Group

Daddy Appleseed Fund logo designed by 10-yr-old Ana Mei Shuman, our youngest DFF1 youth juror.

Our recently-completed, inaugural Daddying Film Festival (DFF1) took place during a time rife with manmade, inhumane, and natural catastrophes – many of which have felt beyond our control and ability to directly influence as individuals. In turn, such times create the opportunity to bring into dramatic relief and build awareness of the fundamental importance of our daily relationships and interactions for which we do have some control – those within our families, and with friends and colleagues closest to us.

Our DFF1 invited youth (1st graders through college undergraduates) to create/submit short films based on the theme of "a letter to my father, grandfather, or father figure." Additionally, we accepted longer submissions from a few independent filmmakers. We were surprised and delighted to receive submissions from 17 countries – an indication of the increased worldwide awareness of the importance of positive father involvement. These were screened and judged by youth (10-20 yrs-old) trained to review the films by KIDS FIRST! and DCG staff. Once narrowed down to up to 10 in each age category, semi-finalist films were given to a panel of reviewers from the entertainment industry and academia, who then further narrowed the field to up to five finalists in each category.

Finalist films along with independent submissions accepted to the Festival were available online for five days of voting. More than 300 individuals voted for their favorite films, and those filmmakers then appeared virtually for group interviews/discussions before the winners were announced on June 18, 2022, the day before Father's Day. Winners were awarded 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.

The DFF1 finalist films represented a wide range of human relationships and emotions. A six-minute gem, “Dad for Hire,” was submitted by actor, teacher, and filmmaker Aaron Scully, from New South Wales, Australia. With his permission, we're reposting his short for your enjoyment (be sure to watch all the way through the end credits – they'll keep you smiling):

Aaron's film shows a “job interview” for the position of dad by his 18-month-old daughter, Emma. Although it is light-hearted, captivating, and keeps you amused, it conveys some of the essential responsibilities – and opportunities – of early daddying. Perhaps in between classes teaching at The Hills Drama School for kids, Aaron can begin thinking about another sequel to be filmed a decade or so hence when he is once again interviewed for the job – one requiring a whole different set of skills.

Stay tuned for our upcoming official announcement/invitation to DFF2, which will include an opportunity for not just kids but also dads/granddads/father figures to submit videos/films up to 10 minutes long for 2023 Atticus consideration. Next year, in addition to student and independent filmmakers, we're going to invite submissions by dads, granddads, and father figures so that they may express how becoming a dad/father figure has enriched their lives.

An essential component of our mission at DADvocacy Consulting Group is to shine a spotlight on the importance of daddying to kids, dads, families, and communities. Our work these past 5+ years has been to encourage dads to think about and define the dad they want to be and then to help them become that dad they want to be – the one their children need them to be. The journey often helps them move from an “understudy” to a co-starring” role.

The balance of this Daddying post is our first presented in a video format. It is a 7-minute edited segment of the informative discussion our DCG DADvisor, Hakim Bellamy, had with Aaron Scully during our DFF1 virtual awards ceremony last month. Daddy on!

Inaugural KIDS FIRST! Daddying Film Festival virtual awards ceremony interview with Allan Shedlin, DCG DADvisor Hakim Bellamy, and filmmaker/Emma's daddy Aaron Scully, June 18, 2022.


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 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.


bottom of page