Director(s): Tynan DeLong
Film description: Jim and Dave, a dad and a step-dad, have trouble bonding during a 3-day weekend upstate with their son, Branson.
Programmers notes: Forget Barbie, the most quotable film of the year is DAD & STEP-DAD—and if you’re down with a very specific sense of humor, it’s also arguably the funniest. This is a film that proudly never once acknowledges that Branson, the moody tween-aged son caught between the two titular fathers (Colin Burgess and Anthony Oberbeck), is played by a fully adult man (Brian Fiddyment). You won’t forget this central conceit while watching, per se—but you absolutely will take your eye off that ball, as Branson’s two awkward dads continually try (and fail) to out-peacock the other as the alpha-male cool dad. While the script was developed over months of improvisations (suggesting an intriguing kinship with the working methods of Mike Leigh), Dad & Step-Dad was shot on a micro-budget over a remarkably compressed timetable, making it a kindred spirit of New/Next. And we can only hope our festival plays out as delightfully as this one-of-a-kind comedy, a miracle of DIY filmmaking and alt-humor distilled to its essential core. #SquadGoals, indeed.