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CAAMFest 2013

“The Dead Dad Experience”: A Student Delegate Review

Posted April 8th, 2013 by conorrabinovitz in Student Delegates 2013, CAAMFest 2013

Jethro Patalinghugby Jethro Patalinghug
2013 Student Delegate

Dead Dad came in halfway in the 3-day movie marathon that was prearranged for us in the CAAMFest student delegate program. I was quite apprehensive about the title. It stimulated unlikable expectations in my mind. I was afraid it was going to be melodramatic, or if not, the opposite, a cliché-ish dark comedy. I honestly think that the title has fallen short in representing how relatable this movie is. I was very surprised at how quickly I was sucked into it and how it maintained my interest all throughout while watching. The high quality yet indie look of the cinematography framed the very authentic and realistic performances of the actors. Every actor in it, including the supporting cast, did so well that I almost thought I was part of the scenes, it felt like it was happening right in front of me. It was a cathartic experience almost. What great direction in terms of the acting. I was really curious if the director, Ken Adachi, was an actor himself. Luckily, we, the student delegates, had a chance to interview him, and it turns out he isn’t, but has studied acting in college. I was really surprised to learn that one of the lead actors who played Russell, Kyle Arrington, who also happens to be one of the writers, was a first timer in acting. It’s almost unbelievable. Adachi expressed that there were a lot of improvisations in the process and that the script continued to develop during the shoot. I really think that the movie is what it is because of the exceptional performances of the actors.

There is nothing spectacular in terms of the plot, nothing special really happens except that the main characters, who are siblings, embark on a journey of some sort in the hopes of giving their cremated dead father a proper burial. They fail by the terms of putting the ashes in one place, but they were successful in scattering it in all the places they thought their father would consider important in his life. It’s a whirlwind of emotional breakdowns for each of the characters as they go from one place to the other. They all have their moments of desperate realizations about their own relationship with their dad and most importantly their relationship to one another. This is actually what this movie is all about, the relationship of the siblings. This is why this movie is brilliant and genius, it’s because most people can relate to this theme. It hit me straight on and made me reflect on my own relationship with my siblings. I questioned how close I was to them and if it was possible to have or even begin a good relationship with them. This movie is a gem! I like movies that do not only stimulate me to think but also challenge me emotionally. For more information on the movie please visit See you on the next CAAMFest!


Chosen from a large competitive pool of undergraduate and graduate students, the Student Delegates are a small yet diverse group of students who rigorously train at CAAMFest “boot camp.” Under guidance from festival staff, student delegates participate in an intense schedule of music events, cooking events, film screenings, discussions, and exclusive meetings with filmmakers and special guests. The program aims to cultivate the next generation of filmmakers, activists, educators, and community leaders. Check back for blogs from all of the 2013 student delegates!

Southwest Airlines is a proud sponsor of CAAM’s Student Delegate Program. Selected CAAM Internship Program applicants may qualify for complimentary air travel, courtesy of Southwest Airlines.