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D3F 2024 Official Selections

40+ Films from Indie, Dad/Dad Figure & Student Filmmakers Worldwide!

Indie Films:

 

Daughters by Natalie Rae and Angela Patton (Indie Feature Film, USA – Richmond, VA/Washington, DC)

The 2024 Sundance Film Festival’s Audience Award winner for best U.S. documentary and Festival Favorite, Daughters follows the lives of four young girls preparing for the first-ever father/daughter dance in a Washington, DC, correctional facility. This unique rehabilitation program grew from the idea of one little girl in the Girls For A Change program who wanted to invite her father into her life on her own terms. What unfolds is an evocative, complex, and intimate portrayal of childhood that is ultimately inspiring because of the immense wisdom of these remarkable girls. (Daughters will screen ONLY at the LIVE Daddying Film Forum, May 17, at the Parkway Central Library in Philadelphia)

Burst the Silence by Eric Schaeffer and Robbie Schaefer (Indie Feature/Musical Film, USA – Los Angeles/Burbank, CA)

A musical fable about a father, Konnie, and son, Robbie, and a gift that gives voice to a haunted past. A charismatic and irrepressible storyteller, Konnie is also shadowed by a memory that has remained hidden in the woods of his childhood: how as a young boy, he survived the Holocaust. A turn in both their lives comes when Konnie gives 7-year-old Robbie a guitar, neither realizing that it will allow Robbie to tell the only story his father never could. The film recently was selected for the New Hope Film Festival in Philadelphia.

 

Forget Me Not by Olivier Bernier (Indie Feature, USA – Brooklyn, NY)

Revealing a path to a more inclusive society that starts with welcoming diversity in the classroom. As 3-year-old Emilio prepares to start school, his family finds itself embroiled in a challenge all too common for children with disabilities: to secure the right to an inclusive education. Cornered in one of the most segregated education systems, NYC public schools, filmmaker Olivier and his wife Hilda turn the camera on themselves and their child with Down syndrome, as they navigate a byzantine system originally designed to silo children with disabilities. Emilio's parents learn from other families who have fought against the injustices built into the educational system while they continue their own battle for their son's future. The film previously won a 2022 SLAMDANCE Grand Jury Award and was selected to the 2021 New Orleans Film Festival, Montreal Independent Film Festival, and ACT Human Rights Festival, among other honors.

 

Two Lives in Pittsburgh by Brian Silverman (Indie Feature and Dad-Figure Film, USA – Los Angeles/Sherman Oaks, CA)

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. The film was an Official Selection at the 2024 Garden State Film Festival, where Silverman was nominated for Best Actor in a Feature, and the 2024 Durango Independent Film Festival, where he won Best Narrative Feature Performance. Among its many other festival selections, Two Lives earned a Jury Prize honorable mention at the 2024 Omaha Film Festival.

 

Dad Bod by Daniel Flahiff (Indie Short Film, USA – Seattle/Bellvue, WA)

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. 

Papi Ramirez vs. Giant Scorpions by Les Rivera (Indie Feature, USA – Philadelphia, PA)

A campy, modern update of 50-60s B-cinema with real heart. It stars an Afro-Latino, soon-to-be-dad fighting for his life against flesh-eating giant scorpions. A unique horror thriller, the film concludes with a behind-the-scenes featurette detailing how it was made in a rental storage unit, as a one-man-band production, using green screen, miniatures, and stock footage! The film showcases Puerto Rico-born Rivera’s love for retro cinema and tells an entertaining story of a father’s extraordinary dedication to his child.

 

What We Find on the Road by Chaysen Beacham (Indie Feature, USA – Los Angeles, CA)

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.

 

One Second at a Time: Battling the Monster of Addiction by Tim Searfoss (Indie Feature, USA – Tampa, FL)

The powerful true story of Christine Ortoll. Her struggle is told from her own journals and by those who supported her, including family, close friends, addiction treatment providers, mental health clinicians, behavioral therapists, and psychiatrists. The documentary shares the lessons Christine’s father Mike learned in seeking help for her at more than 20 recovery facilities. He finds his life’s purpose by founding a charity in his daughter’s name (www.christineortollcharity.org) and exposing the dangers of mental illness, substance use disorder, and the lethality of fentanyl with help from the country’s top experts.

 

Following Albert by Stéphan Balay (Indie Feature, France)

Filmmaker Stéphan Balay never knew Albert Balay, his paternal grandfather. Nor did his father. He never had the full story of Albert's disappearance, only fragments of stories and anecdotes that eventually settled on him: gendarme in the Resistance, tortured, deported, died in deportation. Certainties and unknowns intertwined. Stéphan made this film to put together the fragments of the story, reconstruct the puzzle, and get as close as possible to the truth.

DADICATION by Sheldon Candis (Indie Short, USA – Atlanta/Dunwoody, GA)

This documentary features fathers who appeared in PSAs for the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse and includes additional testimony from fathers and fatherhood practitioners. The 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.

 

Black Fatherhood: Trials & Tribulations, Testimony & Triumph by Dr. Khalid White and Maia Porter (Indie Short, USA – San Francisco/Union City, CA)

This documentary tells the stories of several black men in a variety of parenting situations, who are stepping up and helping disprove the dishonest stereotype of black men as “irresponsible fathers.”

 

Superheroes by Rafael de Andrade (Indie Short, Brazil)

We've all heard about those superheroes who take care of adult problems, but children need their own superheroes to help solve everyday kids’ problems. Superheroes tells the story of those often-anonymous heroes who may be closer than we think.

 

Dark Hearts by Kenneth Braswell (Indie Short, USA – Atlanta/Dunwoody, GA)

This short documentary follows a day in the life of two parents who have found themselves frustrated while doing the one thing that means the most to them: being parents. Co-parenting has been broadly defined as the level of conflict, cooperation, and support between a child’s primary caregivers—most often the child’s mother and father. The discussion includes a conversation about the difficulty in communicating, navigating conflict, and agreeing to methods, principles, and solutions to creating a parenting environment that secures the child’s healthy well-being.

 

Sourahil by Ismaeil Azimi (Indie Short, Iran)

Sourahil tells the story of Majid, a father who loses his wife due to heart failure. A few days later, he tries to tell his young son, Alireza. However, he finds it challenging to explain the concept of death to him. In the end, Majid himself gains a new perspective on death. The film's screenplay is Azimi's free adaptation of a short story by the same title.

Spell of Reflection by Tasia Ridley (Indie Short, USA – Philadelphia, PA)

A disillusioned student joins a case study that retrieves forgotten memories and discovers unanswered questions from his childhood. This film submission was referred through D3F Circle of Friends member Big Picture Alliance.

Dalgona by Jang Ha won (Indie Short, Republic of South Korea)

Ten-year-old Yeon-ah wants to celebrate her mother's birthday. She decides to reach out to her dead father, Jeong Hoon, by mimicking a video on YouTube showing how to contact those who have passed on. To prepare the food for the necromancy, she tries to make dalgona, which she used to make with her father. But she can't seem to get it right. She finally succeeds after finding a video of her father on an old camera that provides the proper instructions. She then organizes the birthday party for her mother with dalgona to enjoy when she gets home from work.

DaddyHood Adventure - Island of Krk by Fran Karabaić and Matija Djanješić (Indie Short, Croatia)

To inspire more dads to play an active role in their children's lives, Marino and Thomas took on the challenge of getting around the scenic island of Krk in Croatia by running, cycling, and hiking 150 kilometers in seven days with their 2-year-old toddlers! This story will inspire parents, especially fathers, to be more present and creative when spending time with their children. The film sparks discussion about the meaning of equal parenting and the important role fathers have in their children's upbringing.

Mushroom's Quest by David Johnson (Indie Short, United Kingdom)

Oltha, a determined and compassionate woman, embarks on a heartfelt journey across continents to discover her roots. Armed with little more than a dream and a prayer, Oltha’s story unfolds against a backdrop of family secrets, unexpected revelations, and unwavering love.

Dad-Created and Dad-Figure Films/Videos:

 

How to Make a Film About My Son, Jack by Michael Plewa (Dad-Created Short, USA – Los Angeles/Encino, CA)

A short documentary covering everything a filmmaker needs to know about making a film about Jack, Michael's 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.

 

From Now On by Aaron Scully (Dad-Created Short, Australia)

A father records a video message for his daughter with a promise for the future. The short film was an official selection for the 2023 SF3 Gala Finals. Aaron returns to the D3F after having his short film Dad for Hire named a Best Short Film finalist at the inaugural festival in 2022 and a D3F Best Dad-Created Film finalist in 2023.

 

Dear Black Dad by Tristan Barrocks (Dad-Created Short, Canada)

A visual journal dedicated to every Black father who has committed their lives to be present in their child's life. Incorporating both photography and film mediums, this short film invites you into an intimate letter written by a son to his father. Written and directed by Barrocks, with creative collaboration from O’Shane Howard, the film was created with the desire to honor Black fatherhood. “We always had our fathers in our lives,” says Barrocks. “They stayed and didn't leave. They were engaged and invested in our success. So, we wanted to tell this story instead of the common absentee Black dad narrative.”

 

Hope for the Holidays by Nathan Cribari and Yuri Omar Shariff Williams (Dad-Figure Indie Short, USA – Los Angeles/Long Beach, CA)

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 family members battling life-threatening illnesses. Dressed as Santa’s helpers, they travel the diverse landscapes of all 50 states to spread joy and deliver toys to kids during the holidays.

 

Tess Is Not Alone by Bo Bigelow (Dad-Created Short, USA – Falmouth, ME)

Bo is a co-founder of DISORDER: The Rare Disease Film Festival. When he and his wife found out their daughter, Tess, had a mutation in her USP7 gene, they believed she was the only one of her kind in the world. Within 24 hours of writing a blog post about Tess and sharing on social media, he discovered a team of researchers working on the USP7 gene and his daughter's disorder. At the time, Tess was only the 8th known patient in the world. Since 2015, through his podcast and blog "Stronger Every Day," Bo has helped build their patient group to more than 20 cases worldwide. Bo created Tess Is Not Alone to support the search for more patients. He and his wife started their foundation in 2017 with a mission to cure USP7-related diseases. The short documentary was a winner at the 2017 Avalonia Film Festival and the FICOCC Five Continents International Film Festival.

 

Loud in the Library by Jeff Klemm aka “Mr. Jeff” (Dad-Created Music Video, USA – Cleveland/Akron/Cuyahoga Falls, OH)

A music video for former preschool teacher and dad of three Mr. Jeff's song "Loud In the Library" from his recently released first album Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful. The video is co-directed and co-starring Jeff’s son Silas (age 7 and a half.) Filmed in a REAL library, the music video taps into the joys of reading and giving kids the freedom to explore and appreciate one of the most vital parts of any community!

 

Juni Sings “Hello, Goodbye” by Jeff Klemm (Dad-Created Music Video, USA – Cleveland/Akron/Cuyahoga Falls, OH)

A children's musician’s 2-year-old daughter sings "Hello, Goodbye" by The Beatles with him while joyfully dancing and laughing.

 

Baked With Love by Brenden Guy (Dad-Created Short, USA – Philadelphia/Havertown, PA)

Many fans already know Brenden from his prolific library of heartwarming, daddying content for moms and dads he posts across several social media platforms, including Instagram, Tiktok, and Youtube. Baked With Love is an original video he created just for D3F 2024, and is a sweet (pun intended) story of a loving father who values the special connection with his daughter nurtured through the treasured act of baking cookies.

 

Menkes Disease: Finding Help and Hope by Daniel DeFabio (Dad-Created Short, USA – Albany/Ballston Spa, NY)

A documentary from a dad dealing with a life-threatening diagnosis for his child with a rare disease. Daniel is a visual storyteller and co-founder of Disorder: The Rare Disease Film Festival and the Disorder Channel, both dedicated to spreading awareness for patient families facing one of the more than 7,000 rare diseases. He considers his documentary on Menkes Disease his most personal and important film as it includes his son Lucas’ story. The film won the 2015 Rare Patient Story Award from Global Genes.

Slides and Climbs by Matthew Krekeler (Dad-Created Short, USA – Denver, CO)

D3F Circle of Friends member and Girl Dad Nation podcast host Matthew Krekeler is a returning D3F filmmaker. His latest entry is a dad's open letter to his young daughter.

Fits Just Right by Randy Sauer (Dad-Figure Short/Music Video, USA – Wichita/Hays, KS)

This music video celebrates the importance of being a grandparent and describes the many different granddaddying roles Randy plays for his grandkids, all of which he loves so much. Another of Randy’s songs/videos, “Empathy,” recently won an award at the Round the Globe Film and Music Festival.

 

Nothing to Do by Mike Kravinsky (Dad-Figure/Indie Feature, USA – Arlington, VA)

50-year-old Kenny, an aimless DJ at an oldies station in Philadelphia, is called to a hospital in Washington D.C., where he’s informed that his father, Irv, is at the end of his life. Something Irv has kept from his children. It’s suggested that Kenny and his father discuss hospice. Kenny’s younger sister, a more accomplished person, intervenes. She wants to send her father back to the hospital to “get better.” Nothing to Do is a story of the family bonds that never die.

DadTalks by David Affholter (Dad-Figure Short, USA – Huntington/Fort Wayne, IN)

In a presentation titled, "Where Do They Go?," David, a foster dad, describes the effects of unmet expectations on children in the foster care system.

My Space Exploration with Dad by Ryan Thomas Ball and Lendo Mutambala (Dad-Created Short, Canada)

A dad and his son go on a space exploration adventure to visit their favorite planets.

WDAD News From the Zoo by Anthony Nelson Fleg (Dad-Created Short, USA – Albuquerque, NM)

Breaking news coverage by a WDAD reporter, Fleg, who witnessed a case of mistaken gorilla identity at the local biological park.

Student Films:

 

Dad’s Kitchen by Jack Chasen (High School Student Film, USA – New York, NY)

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 has a flashback to when he and his dad discussed starting a restaurant together. Impulsively, he starts a restaurant straight out of his kitchen, which raises immediate problems.

 

100 Subs by Eka Shukla (Elementary Student, Singapore)

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

 

My Dog’s Leg by Ashton Polak (Undergrad Student/Animated Film, USA – Pittsburgh/Cranberry Township, PA)

My Dog’s Leg sees a father creating 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.

 

A Trace by Julietta Zamora Lam (Undergrad Student/Animated Film, USA – Los Angeles/Van Nuys, CA)

A 3D animated film Julietta created as her senior thesis project with other Animation/Illustration students at San Jose State University. Based on her own experience, A Trace tells the story of a young girl who learns to shed her guilt about her absent father.

 

The Sockening by Sophia Linzie McDonald (Elementary Student, USA – Salt Lake City/Ogden, UT)

Despite her dad's warnings, a girl wears her socks without washing them until they mysteriously come to life and killer instincts take over. Will she learn the age-old lesson: father knows best?! Sophia, a 5th-grader, is a 1st-time director but longtime storyteller. Her debut short, The Sister Sister Jinx, won numerous awards across the US, including Best Picture (in her age group) at the Tumble Weeds Film Festival in Salt Lake City, Utah, and was a D3F 2023 student finalist.

 

You Are Me by Damon Anthony (Undergrad Student, USA – Philadelphia, PA)

This short film tells the story of an estranged father and son who reunite to have a difficult and candid conversation. This film submission was referred through D3F Circle of Friends member Big Picture Alliance.

My Wonderful Dad by Alejandro Pereira (Elementary Student, USA Arlington, VA)

Alejandro, a 5th-grader, remembers good times with his dad and has a stop-motion animated conversation with him while tossing the football.

Thank You, Moddy by Allison Rachel White (High School Student, USA  Arlington, VA)

Allison thanks her dad for all the support he's given her over the years.

My Loving Dad by Emmylou Skye Simkin (Elementary Student, USA – Arlington, VA) 

Emmylou, a 5th-grader, shares a visual letter to her father thanking him for being such a great stay-at-home dad to her and her twin brother.

 

Our Dads by Zachary Walker Voyles and Simon Joseph Loughner (Elementary Students, USA – Washington, DC)

Zachary and his friend Simon, both fifth graders, explain how their dads are very important to them and involved in their everyday lives.

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