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D3F Judging Process

To select D3F finalists, student and adult preliminary jurors from around the U.S. and trained in evaluating films by KIDS FIRST! and DADvocacy Consulting Group staff, help narrow submissions for our VIP judging panel. Student jurors range from first-grade through college undergraduates (the same grade levels represented in student film/video submissions they evaluate).


In addition to considering how well submissions relate to one of D3F's 5 themes/prompts (letter to my father/child, most joyful thing I ever did/wish I could do/have done with my father/child, if I could make one wish come true for my father/child, my daddy wish, and/or celebrating men caring/other faces of daddying), the criteria jurors use to evaluate each film reflect D3F's mission 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.


D3F student, father/dad figure, and independent filmmaker finalists are selected by a panel of VIP judges, who are experts in film production, the arts and entertainment industry, and academia. VIP judges select up to five finalists for each of the following festival voting categories:

  1. 1st through 5th grade (elementary school)

  2. 6th 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 (students, dads, and other indie filmmakers)

  7. NEW IN 2024: Best Animated Film

  8. NEW IN 2024: Best Music Video

  9. Best Dad-created Film, aka, The Roy R. Neuberger Prize; and

  10. NEW IN 2024: Best Dad-Figure Film, aka The D3F Men Caring Award for best film celebrating the many other faces of daddying, including men who play nurturing, fatherly roles and make a positive impact in the lives of children and youth. Examples include foster dads, adoptive dads, granddads, uncles, teachers, mentors and "big brothers," inspirational philanthropists/patrons, and other daddying role models/VIP dads. The D3F Men's Caring Award is sponsored by D3F Circle of Friends member Equimundo.


Voting to determine the Atticus Award, Neuberger Prize, and Men Caring Award winners is open to the public/D3F  attendees and conducted online during the virtual festival week. Awards will be presented to winners during a virtual ceremony at the end of the festival.

With D3F's continued expansion, we're always looking to add more student and adult preliminary jurors! If you'd like to become a D3F juror and are interested in learning more about the training process, we'd love to hear from you! Please CONTACT US for more information and include "D3F juror inquiry" in the subject line of your email.

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