Daddy & Papa


Middle 40-60% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2002 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Documentary Competition

Non-Cast Credits

Johnny Symons, Lindsay Sablosky, Kim Roberts, Gail Huddleson, Johnny Symons, Andy Abrahams Wilson, Janice Giteck, Glenys Rogers, David Conley


What does the American family look like? In recent years, due largely to hard-won battles by gays and lesbians, it's been up for interpretation across the board. With thousands of gay men consciously choosing to become parents, you might say we're in the midst of a "gayby" boom. This unprecedented moment is the subject of Johnny Symons's consummate documentary, Daddy & Papa, which opens a candid window on the personal, cultural, and political implications of gay fatherhood.

Turning his lens on four households, including his own, and never ducking from the hard issues, Symons examines the effect of gender and sexual orientation on children, the dilemma of white fathers raising African American kids, the precariousness of surrogacy and adoption, and the opinions of extended families and the public. We follow a single man who confronts the isolation of raising at-risk kids in a largely childless gay neighborhood. We meet a healthcare worker who battles Florida state law to formalize his relationship to a boy he has been parenting for years and a couple who arranged to have a friend bear their child and are now weathering divorce. Finally there is Symons, who at first resists becoming a father at all and must later, together with his partner, negotiate a painful snag in the adoption process.

Keenly drawing out the humanity of its subjects, Daddy & Papa is a penetrating, honest, and uplifting work that will challenge and deeply touch anyone concerned with parenting and the well-being of children.


Caroline Libresco (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.