Daughters

Duration: 102m Director: Natalie Rae, Angela Patton

Winner: Audience Award; U.S. Documentary, 2024 Sundance Film Festival

Four young girls prepare for a special Daddy Daughter Dance with their incarcerated fathers, as part of a unique fatherhood program in a Washington, D.C., jail.

A moving lesson in empathy and forgiveness, DAUGHTERS is a result of an eight-year documentary journey that filmmaker Natalie Rae and Angela Patton, an activist advocating for “at-promise” girls, embarked upon. As Aubrey, Santana, Raziah, and Ja’Ana get ready for the special event, they speak candidly about their hopes, dreams, and disappointments. There is an innate wisdom and honesty to what they share about their dads’ inconsistent presence; an awareness far beyond their years. DAUGHTERS meaningfully challenges many stereotypes around incarceration and serves as a poignant reminder that maintaining family bonds can be both healing and empowering. We get to witness a lot of joy, but in keeping with the film’s vérité style, Rae and Patton don’t shy away from more challenging moments, including heartbreak, skepticism, reluctance to engage, and anger. But then comes a classic dad joke, and the mood shifts again.

—Ania Trzebiatowska, Sundance Film Festival guide

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