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Virtual Festival - May 8-14, 2024
Live Forum
in Philadelphia - May 17

WHY does the D3F exist?

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, we offer 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.


The D3F is the world’s first and only film festival focused exclusively on promoting the importance of positive dad involvement for kids and families. Our mission is to:


  • Shine a spotlight on the importance of dads 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 D3F 2023 program broadened 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 being perceived as an understudy to being accepted as a parenting co-star. After all, when men are positively involved, all measures of social well-being improve for kids, fathers, families, and communities. And even though the benefits to kids and youth of positive dad involvement are increasingly known and supported by research, including dads in the program will help demonstrate some of the lesser-recognized benefits dads get from being involved in their children’s lives.


WHEN/WHERE is the 2024 D3F?

D3F’s call for submissions will begin Monday, January 1, 2024. The virtual D3F festival week will be May 8-14, 2024, with finalists participating in a moderated discussion before the winners are announced at an online Atticus Awards Ceremony (date/time TBD). The Atticus Awards ceremony livestream video and discussions will be recorded and made available to other groups in order to encourage greater father involvement.



Plans are now underway for the 2024 Daddying Film Forum, which will be held in Philadelphia, PA. The world premiere of the Forum took place in New Mexico in June 2023 at The Hiland Theater in Albuquerque and at The Dance Barns in Santa Fe. Tickets for our live Forum events are FREE.


D3F selected New Mexico as the Forum’s premiere site for several reasons:


  • To spotlight the state’s vibrant and growing film industry

  • A desire to help bolster New Mexico’s future film workforce through student internships and by recruiting student filmmakers and festival judges

  • D3F Director Allan Shedlin’s long history of work with dads and youth in New Mexico, including being the driving force that brought one of the Obama White House’s nine “Fatherhood Forums” to the state in 2010, establishing the New Mexico Alliance for Fathers & Families, and co-founding Santa Fe-based REEL Fathers in 2007, a nonprofit for which he still serves as president emeritus; and

  • Shedlin’s oldest daughter and her husband recently retired after 25 years as teachers in the Albuquerque Public Schools.

Stay tuned for more D3F and Forum details!


WHO May Submit a Film?

Students (1st grade through college undergraduates), dads/dad figures, and other independent filmmakers are eligible to submit films/videos that relate in some way to one or more of D3F's themes. In 2023, our themes were:


  1. A letter to my father/A letter to my child(ren)

  2. The most joyful/fun thing I ever did or wish I could do with my father and/or child(ren)

  3. If I could make one wish come true for my dad and/or child(ren) it would be...


Students and dads may submit short films/videos of 1 to 10 minutes long. Adult (i.e., graduates and other non-students) independent filmmakers may submit longer short films and feature-length films.


All filmmakers must submit their films or smartphone-shot videos in MP4 or MOV format by uploading to D3F's FilmFreeway page (beginning in January 2024) Students (under 18) must have a parent's permission to register and upload films via FilmFreeway.

HOW are winners recognized?

D3F presents awards in several different voting categories, and up to five finalists are selected in each. In 2023, these were the categories:

  1. 1st through 4th grade (elementary school)

  2. 5th through 8th (middle school)

  3. 9th through 12th (high school)

  4. College/university (undergraduate)

  5. Best Feature Film (non-student indie filmmakers)

  6. Best Short Film (indie filmmakers)

  7. Best Film submitted by Dad/Dad Figure 

All D3F student finalists earn a $250 award for use toward an activity or project to enjoy with their dad/dad figure. All D3F winners, including non-student, indie filmmakers, earn an “Atticus,” a statuette symbolizing Atticus Finch from the 1962 film based on Harper Lee’s book To Kill a Mockingbird. Finch, an iconic single dad, represents several ideal daddying qualities. Student Atticus winners also earn an additional scholarship to advance their studies or create a project encouraging positive dad involvement.

Starting in 2023, the best film submitted by a Dad earns a special Atticus, the Roy R. Neuberger Prize, and $500 to use toward an activity or project with their child(ren). The inaugural Roy R. Neuberger Prize went to family musician and kids' book author Justin Roberts for "Everybody Get on Board," one of the songs from his 2022 Grammy-nominated album Space Cadet.





All Atticus Award winners are selected by public, online vote during Festival week. For more information about the D3F and how to get involved as a participating filmmaker, potential juror, sponsor, national or local Advisory Team member, or other collaborator, please CONTACT US today!

Lights! Camera! Daddying!


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