Daddy Don't Go

Captured over two years, “Daddy Don’t Go” is a feature length documentary about four disadvantaged fathers in New York City as they struggle to beat the odds and defy the deadbeat dad stereotype.

The official site of the feature length documentary "Daddy Don't Go" directed by Emily Abt. Captured over two years, “Daddy Don’t Go” is a feature length documentary about four disadvantaged fathers in New York City as they struggle to beat the odds and defy the deadbeat dad stereotype. 

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“Daddy Don’t Go” captures two years in the lives of four disadvantaged fathers in New York City as they fight to defy the odds against them. And the odds are real - men living in poverty are more than twice as likely to become absent fathers than their middle-class peers (U.S. Census Bureau).

“Daddy Don’t Go” is a tough but tender journey that aims to illuminate the everyday struggles of disadvantaged fathers.  Alex, Nelson, Roy and Omar shatter the deadbeat dad stereotype and redefine what it means to be a good father for all men.

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Alex, 26, is a single father of West Indian descent who lives with his toddler son in a decaying Harlem shelter. “I gotta be dead or someone would have to beat me up for me to be a deadbeat dad,” says Alex when asked if he fears being separated from his son. Alex keeps Junior out of the foster care system but then faces a new challenge to his family’s well-being: possible jail time.

 

 

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Roy, 29, is an ex-offender who has full custody of his toddler son Caiden. Roy and Caiden live with his parents as Roy tries to overcome his criminal past as well as a troubled relationship with his own father. Roy is determined to raise his own son differently than the way he grew up: “A 16-year old doesn’t catch a life-sentence for no reason…I won’t let my son have demons like I did.”

 

Omar, 36, has full-custody of three children with special needs. He strives to prove to the judge in Bronx Family Court that he is fit to parent in spite of multiple challenges. When Omar feels that his children are being jeopardized by his romantic relationship, he is faced with an impossible decision. “I feel like being a father is the only thing I’m good at and that’s what makes me not give up,” declares Omar.

 

Nelson, 27, is a former Latin King gang member and full-time daddy to his toddler son and two girls from his partner Rebecca’s previous relationships. Nelson is adamant about staying away from “street life” even in the face of unemployment. In his own words: “It’s real hard out here to get a job. Sometimes I feel like going back to my old ways but I choose not to. It’s not just me anymore, I have a family.”