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  • Writer's pictureAllan Shedlin

The Little Film Festival That Could and Freshman Boat That Did

By Scott Beller

Daddying Editor, Dad of a State Champion, and D3F Help Desk Understudy

It's on, people! And it's free.

When you're sitting in front of your laptop at 1am on a Thursday morning staring into the abyss that is the Eventive virtual festival dashboard for 3rd Annual Daddying Film Festival & Forum (D3F) with columns upon columns of film selection attributes to troubleshoot. You've checked and rechecked screen after dizzying screen a dozen times but still can't figure which details or tags or films are missing and why. Your mind plays tricks. You're not just missing sleep, you might also be losing your mind.

Then you realize on top of all that, you haven't written this week's blog post yet.

Yes, after four years without missing a single weekly post, your Daddying blog's editor has filed his submission late twice in the past few weeks. But that's only because the world's first and only festival focused on the importance of involved dads for kids and families, the D3F, kicked off this week on Eventive! And, because this little festival that could is so jam packed with creative talent and award-winning films, that blog editor has been pulling double-duty at the festival promotions department and help desk understudy to maximize exposure for some amazing festival content, let everyone know where and how to get FREE passes for unlimited access to our 40+ short and feature films, and make sure all that filmmaking goodness (including our just-announced student, dad/dad-figure, and indie Finalist films) was ready for your viewing pleasure from 7am last Thursday, May 2 through 9pm next Thursday, May 9.

With your FREE pass, you can watch award-winning indie films like 2022 SLAMDANCE Grand Jury Award winner Forget Me Not, Garden State Film Fest official selection Two Lives in Pittsburgh, Dumbo Film Festival Semi-Finalist Hope For The Holidays, and Cannes Short Film Festival Official Selection Dad Bod screening alongside a variety of other short films and videos from first-time filmmakers celebrating the importance of having or being an involved dad. Because our D3F virtual attendees will help choose our 2024 Atticus Award Winners, after you finish watching, be sure to vote for your favorite Finalists during the festival (rate them 1-5, with 5 being the highest)!

Unfortunately, this post, which he had planned on writing to commemorate the beginning of said film fest, would have to wait a little bit longer. But, lucky you, dear reader. That small delay provided him the opportunity to infuse his weekly rambling with the perfect proud dad anecdote.

Proud daddy and his mighty daughter

Early this morning, in the cold drizzle, he left the D3F help desk (and potentially hundreds of virtual moviegoers needing guidance) with his wife heading south to the Occoquan River, site of the 2024 Virginia Scholastic Rowing Association's (VASRA) Novice State Championships. Now, it's also known as the site where my daughter, Lauren, and her eight freshman boatmates (don't forget the coxswain! and, no, I didn't need autocorrect to tell me how to spell coxswain!) rowed the Yorktown High School Girls Freshman 8 to a resounding Virginia State Championship.

I thought I felt elation when the Red Sox brought the first World Series Championship home to Boston after 86 years back in 2004. Watching my daughter help lead her team through the mist into open water and over the finish line well ahead of some stiff competition, including the boat that beat them in a final just last week, was truly breathtaking.

I wept with relief when the Red Sox won. It was a weight off my shoulders and a load off my mind heading into every season since. But for my daughter's achievement today, I wept for a different reason – hell, I'm crying right now as I type. That was my little girl, who once relied on me for everything, powering a determined team through the finish line. Together, they reached a lofty goal in one of the most physically demanding sports there is. As their shell streaked past us on the way to victory, my heart was in that boat too.

Your 2024 Girls Freshman 8 VA State Champs!

As I saw my daughter smack the water in celebration and her smile grow the closer her boat got to the dock where the team would accept their team trophy and individual medals, I imagined what it must be like for her to have experienced that level of accomplishment, born from hard work and despite a number of setbacks along the way, and how it must have given her and her crew a huge boost in self-confidence. They must have felt like nothing could stand in their way again. Then I thought, I wonder if it matters to her that I was here to see her in that moment. Then she smiled at me. Yeah, it absolutely does.

Which brought it all back to the reason why the Daddying Film Festival exists. Involved dads matter. Sometimes words alone can't express the reasons why.

For us to grow the D3F in 2024, we went looking for more films to fortify an already amazing, inspiring group of daddying films. Given the power-packed lineup of D3F films we've been able to assemble this year, including a special live screening of 2024 Sundance award-winning documentary, Daughters, at the Daddying Film Forum, May 17th, in Philadelphia, maybe next year, more films and filmmakers will come looking for us.

Speaking of dad-created films, daughters, and hunting things down, here's a video from some soggy, unidentified dad absolutely losing his mind over his daughter's Freshman 8 rowing State Championship:

Daddy on.


3rd Annual Daddying Film Festival & Forum (D3F) is OPEN!

AND for Both Daddying Film Forum Events in Philly, May 17-18

Poster Designed by Michael Duggan

Passes to the LIVE Daddying Film Forum events in Philadelphia at the Free Library of Philadelphia on MAY 17, and at the Mummers Museum on MAY 18, also are FREE! Snacks and beverage available at both events.

Am I losing it?

Scott Beller is the proud, imperfect dad of two mighty girls (one of which just brought home some serious high-school rowing championship hardware and the other goes for more next weekend - let's go, Yorktown girls!), imperfect husband of a rock-star mom, truth teller, former soccer coach and current equipment hauler, part-time driving instructor, photobomber, purveyor of banned books, current Mummer recruiting target, Editor of the Daddying blog, and Director of Communications for DCG and D3F. Oh, and resume embellisher. He's a seasoned writer and PR agency veteran with more than 30 years of experience helping organizations of all sizes reach audiences and tell their stories. Prior to launching his own creative communications consultancy in 2003, he led PR teams with some of the world’s most respected agencies, including Fleishman-Hillard and The Weber Group. As a consultant, he’s helped launch two other parenting advocacy nonprofits with DCG founder Allan Shedlin. His first book, Beggars or Angels, was a ghostwritten memoir for the nonprofit Devotion to Children's founder Rosemary Tran Lauer. He was formerly known as "Imperfect Dad" and Head Writer for the Raising Nerd blog, which supported parents in inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers, and creative problem solvers. He earned his BA in Communications from VA Tech.


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