Directed by Conor McCormack, "Christmas With Dad" is the story of a young man struggling to define himself through fatherhood. AJ is just 23 years old but already a father to seven children, five from his partner's previous relationships. They live on a sprawling council estate on the outskirts of Bristol: an area plagued by unemployment, drugs and anti-social behaviour, where fewer residents go to university than in any other area of the UK.
AJ's tough exterior conceals a sensitive young man, living through some of the defining moments in his life. The family home is full of noise and conflict as seven children compete for space, but amid the chaos young lives are forming. Filmed entirely within the physical setting of home, "Christmas With Dad" follows this most unusual family as they prepare for the festive season and ready themselves for the arrival of an eighth child. With remarkable access and insight, the documentary reveals a young man struggling to define his role as father, haunted by his own childhood and facing up to a very uncertain future.
"Christmas with Dad" premiered at the 62nd Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2008 where it was named the winner of the Scottish Documentary Award. The Jury commented on the very impressive overall quality of the nominated films, particularly "...the extremely high technical standard and the stunning cinematography". The jury felt that the winning film "Christmas with Dad" told: "...a beautifully structured story, introducing the viewer to a situation through subtly observed scenes and gradually revealing unexpected details that combined to produce an unforgettable portrait of a modern family."
In October 2009, "Christmas with Dad" received a nomination for Best British Short Film at the 12th British Independent Film Awards in December 2009, which "celebrate merit and achievement in independent British filmmaking, honouring new talent and promoting British films to a wider public." "Christmas with Dad" is the only documentary to be nominated in this category this year.
Bridging the Gap, the documentary new talent initiative funded by Scottish Screen, Skillset Film Skills Fund and run by the Scottish Documentary Institute
Clarity Productions site
Festivals & Screenings
15th Sheffield Doc Fest, UK, 2008
Future Shorts International, International, 2008
Current TV, December 2008 & March 2009
London Short Film Festival, 2009
9th Glasgow Film Festival, UK, 2009
HotDocs International Documentary Film Festival, Canada, 2009
Stranger Than Fiction Documentary Film Festival, Ireland, 2009
Galway Film Fleadh, Ireland, 2009
9th Gimli International Film Festival, Canada, 2009
Branchage Jersey International Film Festival, 2009
9th Viscult Festival of Visual Culture, 2009)
28th Uppsala International Short Film Festival, 2009
13th Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival. Czech Republic, 2009
35th International Filmets Festival of Badalona, Spain, 2009
10th Student and Short Film Festival Sleepwalkers, Estonia, 2009
32nd Starz Denver Film Festival, USA, 2009
8th Two Short Nights Film Festival, UK, 2009
12th British Independent Film Awards, UK, 2009 – Nominated: Best British Short Film
Best Short Documentary, 21st Galway Film Fleadh, Ireland, 2009
Best Scottish Short Documentary, Edinburgh International Film Festival, 2008
Special Mention, Best of British Category, Encounters Film Festival, 2008