Dear Dad

Stella Asia Consonni’s latest film is a love letter to fatherhood in all its forms
By Ella Joyce | Film+TV | 25 July 2023

Dear Dad is a letter to my own father,” says photographer and filmmaker Stella Asia Consonni, whose latest short film meditates on the nuances of fatherhood; its ability to shape one’s understanding of empathy and the different definitions of the term ‘father’.

Shot in the late-afternoon light of downtown New York, the narrative follows three young children on their day-to-day adventures in the city climbing fire escapes and watching the sunset amid the skyscrapers. Punctuated by flashbacks to time spent with their respective fathers, we see them reading in the park or playing football with siblings as a nostalgic portrait is painted of parenthood and childhood alike.

Casting real fathers, allowing the children the freedom to create their own narrative and capturing candid conversations create a strong sense of authenticity at the heart of Dear Dad. “I want to remind the audience of what it’s like to be a kid, and the experience of the world as being new and magical,” Consonni says. “I want them to feel the warmth shared between fathers and children even though, like myself, they might have never experienced it in their own life.”

The origins of the Italian-born director and photographer’s project were drawn from lived experience, yet articulated via a story which, although fictional for her, is a reality for many. “Contrary to the dads in my film, mine didn’t seem to have much interest in being present in our lives, always too angry to show any love. I decided to channel my pain into a celebration of those men that, despite the difficulties life throws their way, strive to be an emotionally present father figure in the lives of their children,” she says.

As family dynamics continue to shift and evolve, by placing fatherhood at the centre of her narrative, Consollini joins a discourse currently dominating the world of cinemas as the likes of Charlotte Wells’ Aftersun and Charlotte Regan’s Scrapper also meditate on the importance of father figures. “This film made me realise that good fathers do exist,” Consonni concludes, “and I felt grateful to have had the opportunity to celebrate them.”

Still, ‘Dear Dad’ by Stella Asia Consonni, 2023

Follow Consonni on Instagram.

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