By Allan Shedlin
DADvocacy Consulting Group Founder and Director, Daddying Film Fest & Forum (D3F)
Thanks to support this year from our hundreds of inaugural Daddying Film Festival attendees, our amazing DFF Circle of Friends, and devoted Daddying blog readers, the Daddying Film Festival has earned itself a blockbuster sequel in 2023!
The Daddying Film Festival & Forum (D3F) will provide children, youth, and fathers/father figures with another chance to celebrate involved dads. D3F’s mission is to:
Shine a spotlight on the importance of dads to kids, in their presence and in their absence.
Provide opportunities for kids and fathers alike to reflect upon and express feelings about what daddying qualities are most important to them; what kind of dad a father wants to be, and what kind of dad a kid wants and needs.
Provide opportunities for emotional authenticity, creativity, and originality.
Portray a variety of family dynamics in order to explore and encourage constructive relationships.
Demonstrate film- and/or video-making skills and production values.
Our relationship with our father – in its presence or its absence – is one of the most important relationships in our lives. Because kids are most directly impacted by a dad’s involvement or his absence, D3F offers them a creative outlet to freely express their feelings about their relationships with their dads or dad figures, and likewise, we provide a complementary opportunity for dads.
In 2023, our D3F program will broaden the spotlight to include dads in its Call For Entries as more men are recognizing the critical role they can play in their kids’ lives and are embracing the opportunity to do so as they move from an understudy to a co-starring parenting role.
Simply put, dads are important to children and children are important to dads. Families and communities are better off when fathers and children are positively involved in each other's lives.
It felt significant for me to be writing this week’s blog on December 14, the 10th anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. On that simply awful day, 26 people died – 20 of them were 6- and 7-year-olds. The other six were school staff. My own children grew up only a few miles from that shooting and attended a school very similar to Newtown. And having spent so much of my school career teaching and being a principal at the elementary school level, it struck very close to home for me and my family.
The connection between the Sandy Hook anniversary yesterday and today’s post are at the top of my mind because they are a reminder that life-altering tragedy can happen in an instant. And when it does, it often deprives us the opportunity to express our deepest, most profound feelings and thoughts to the precious ones we love. The D3F provides children, youth, and fathers/father figures with one such opportunity by asking them to create and submit films in response to one of the Festival's themes:
A letter to my father or A letter to my daughter/son
The most joyful/fun thing I ever did with my dad/dad figure and/or daughter/son
If I could make one wish come true for my dad/dad figure and/or son/daughter it would be...
We've kept this week's post short in the hope that you will explore our D3F website which we launched today. Please seriously consider this an invitation and opportunity to participate in this Festival by encouraging a student to submit a short film/video once D3F Call for Entries opens on FilmFreeway later next month, submitting one yourself if you're an involved dad/dad figure, joining our team of preliminary jurors, letting your school or after-school program know about D3F, or underwriting an award named in honor of a dad or dad figure who has had a powerful impact in your life.
ENTER BELOW through December 31, 2022 for FREE and SHARE!
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 inaugural Daddying Film Festival 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.