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  • Writer's pictureAllan Shedlin

Welcome to The Daddying Film Festival's Leap Year

Updated: Apr 8

By Scott Beller

Daddying Editor and D3F Director of Communications

Busy building Atticus Awards in the Daddying workshop this week!

"If we listened to our intellect we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business because we'd be cynical: 'It's gonna go wrong.' Or 'She's going to hurt me,' or 'I've had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore..." Well, that's nonsense. You're going to miss life. You've got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down."

Ray Bradbury

In explaining what inspired him to embark on such a potentially massive undertaking as the Daddying Film Festival & Forum (D3F) while on his recent promotional tour of the dad podcasting landscape, Allan has often quoted the American naturalist and essayist John Burroughs, saying: "Leap, and the net will appear."

He's one courageous and persistent dude from the Bronx.

Bradbury took Burroughs' notion a leap and bound further with his observation. And that's exactly what the past nine months of planning for D3F 2024 has felt like for us. In a field of more than 3000 film festivals worldwide, we consider D3F to be the little festival that could. But still in our infancy, and even though we are the world's first and only festival focused exclusively on promoting the importance of positive dad/dad figure involvement for kids and families, we've been realistic about the level of visibility to expect out of the gate when joining this crowd.

The importance of father-child involvement, in its presence and absence, and the desire to promote it is universal. Research – including Allan's interviews with hundreds of dads, granddads, and kids of all ages – and our own eyes have proven it. But films submitted to D3F by filmmakers from 17 countries in 2022 and 21 countries in 2023 provided more evidence that students, dads/dad figures, and independent filmmakers worldwide are looking for an outlet and broader audience to tell their diverse daddying stories.

We've built them the stage. Now we stand on the precipice, side by side with dozens of organizations we call our D3F Circle of Friends (COF), ready to take the next giant leap that lands D3F its biggest festival week audience yet, May 2-9 on FilmFreeway. And it's thanks to the strength and quality of the film and video submissions we've been attracting to this year's D3F.

Our confidence is building with each new submission. Content, after all, is still king.

We've been honored to have so many enthusiastic and talented filmmakers submit their work to the Festival in its first two years. But this year's crop of films and videos from amateurs and professional filmmakers alike have been consistently high-quality. Maybe that's due to the amount of research and legwork we've done to identify candidates, or the increased efforts of our student- and family-focused COF organizations, or improved social media activities. Maybe it's Allan's commanding presence and soothing voice reaching far and wide with all those dadpod appearances!

Whatever the reasons may be, we're proud to say that, based just on current submissions and the Official Selections we've announced so far (call for entries is still open, and the late deadline is March 25th), the 2024 Daddying Film Festival & Forum will present a world-class lineup of films that you and your family won't want to miss.

Dear D3F jurors and judges, we apologize in advance for burdening you with such a difficult task in selecting this year's finalists and winners. Here are some of the early contenders for the 2024 Atticus Awards:

What We Find On the Road by Chaysen Beacham (Indie feature film)

On his 18th birthday, TJ receives a key from his estranged ex con father. The key unlocks a timeworn ’68 convertible and a challenge to drive across America - in hopes of repairing his sense of family. Supported by a band of loveable oddballs and held together by humor and grit, TJ discovers that sometimes the longest road is the fastest way to home. Selected also to the 2024 Victoria Film Festival, Las Cruces Intl Film Festival, and New Hope Film Festival, among others.

Dad’s Kitchen by Jack Chasen (high school student film)

When a teenager loses his father, he struggles to overcome immense grief. The teen used to cook with his father, but despite his therapist's suggestion, he refuses to return to cooking. One day while looking for chips, the teen finds his Dad's Old cookbook, and decides to create a meal from it. Feeling happier, he gets a flashback to a time he and his dad discussed starting a restaurant together. Impulsively, he starts a restaurant straight out of his kitchen, raising immediate problems.

Two Lives In Pittsburgh by Brian Silverman (Indie feature film)

Confronted by his mother’s illness and his child’s exploration of gender, a traditional blue-collar guy is torn between who he has always been and who his child needs him to be. Also an official selection of the 2024 Garden State Film Festival, Durango Independent Film Festival, Omaha Film Festival, and Beloit International Film Festival.

100 Subs by Eka Shukla (5th-grade student film)

Ayaan brings his Grandfather's dream of being an actor come true and Grandfather gets a 100 fans (100 subscribers)! Eka Shukla is a 5th grade student at Global Indian International School, Singapore. "100 Subs" is her first film. She has previously acted in short films called "Smrisha" and "Polar Bears" which helped her to make a movie on her own. She has also written and published a children's book called "Lily the Axe Girl" with which she raised funds for multiple charities.


My Dog’s Leg by Ashton Polak (undergrad student animated film)

In this stop-motion animated short film, a father creates a fantasy story to explain to his daughter how their dog lost her leg. He tells a tale of a monster that steals the dog’s leg leading the dad and dog on an adventure to retrieve it.

Hope for the Holidays by Nathan Cribari, Yuri Omar Shariff Williams (Dad- and Dad-Figure-created indie film)

This documentary follows Yuri and Rodney on their heartfelt mission to bring hope to families facing difficult circumstances, including homes with special needs, disabilities, and battling life-threatening illnesses. Dressed as Santa’s helpers, they traveled the diverse landscapes of all 50 states to spread joy and deliver toys to kids during the holidays.


Dad Bod by Daniel Flahiff (Indie short film)

A relentlessly upbeat father of four revisits the traumatic event from his childhood that forever changed him. A short documentary about exercise, mental health, and second chances. From the director: "Dad Bod is not just a story about one man's journey towards physical fitness. It is a call to action – a plea to engage in open conversations about mental health, particularly when it comes to our children."


DADICATION by Sheldon Candis (Indie short film)

This documentary features fathers who appeared in PSAs for the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse and includes additional testimony from fathers and fatherhood practitioners. The short film emphasizes how essential fathers are to the lives of their children, illustrates the impact of growing up without a father, provides examples of fathers overcoming numerous barriers to be present for their kids, and demonstrates how fathers and their children are flourishing as a result.

How to Make A Film About My Son, Jack by Michael Plewa (Dad-created short film)

"A short documentary covering everything a filmmaker needs to know about making a film about Jack, my 1-year-old son, who loves trucks, toys, and especially flowers. And what to say to Jack when making this film means you can't be with him as much as you wish. A filmmaker explores the pain and joy of being a working parent."



Everything’s Kosher by Adam Fried (Indie feature film)

Adam, a divorced, Jewish father, from Chicago, embarks on a journey to fulfill a promise to his only daughter never to abandon her. Living in a small, German town steeped in the shadows of antisemitism and Nazi history, Adam attempts to open a Jewish deli, to establish a link to his upbringing and try to find comfort and connection in his town. All he wants is Peace, Love, and Pastrami. Adam’s previous film, The Walk, was honored as a 2023 SOHO International Film Festival Official Selection, a 2023 Finalist at the Cannes World Film Festival, and Winner at the 2023 Chicago Indie Film Awards.

Loud in the Library by Jeff Klemm aka “Mr. Jeff” (Dad-created Music video)

Music video for Mr. Jeff's recently released song "Loud In the Library" Co-Directed and co-starring his son Silas (age 7 and a half.) Filmed in a REAL library!

To paraphrase from another legendary daddying film, Field of Dreams, we hoped back in 2022 that if we built it, they would come. This year, the filmmakers are most definitely coming to D3F, Ray. We have a good feeling fans of great (dad/dad figure) films will follow.

Stay tuned for more Official Selection alerts coming soon and, as always...Daddy on!




Attention all Dads/Dad figures, 1st-grade through college undergrad students, and other indie filmmakers, the D3F Call for Entries late deadline is MONDAY, MARCH 25! That means there's still time for you to join our amazing and growing lineup of Official Selections by creating and submitting your own film or video – even if it's just a 1- or 2-minute TikTok or Instagram video! We're looking for more heartfelt stories that reflect what being or having an involved dad means to you and/or your child(ren).

Visit the D3F website for more award details, submission guidelines, and Atticus Award-winning examples from previous years. Or head directly to our FilmFreeway page to submit your films, videos, and music videos celebrating the importance of having or being an involved Dad or Dad figure:



Scott Beller is the proud, imperfect dad of two mighty 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, Editor of the Daddying blog, and Director of Communications for DCG and D3F. 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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