2023 Film Review of DADDY ISSUES, Which Premiers at 2023 Tribeca Fest in June

Like father, like son. 🤣 The apple doesn’t fall from the tree. 🤪 What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. 👹

DADDY ISSUES is a deftly made, dry-humored cinematic gem with superb cinematography minimalistic in style but rich in texture and deliciously unforgettable scenes, and a plot that simmers. Its dialogue, snappy and crisp; its music score, symphonically irresistible – and there is so much more. That the filmmaking team of Matt Campanella and Stephanie Chloé Hepner accomplish so much in about 4 minutes running time is impressive.

Their live-action short film has been selected to premier at the OSCAR-qualifying Tribeca Festival this June. It’s easy to see why DADDY ISSUES, according to publicity information, was selected from 8,096 submissions, with its four screenings selling out in just 30 minutes.

Picture courtesy of London Flair PR

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Moments in to the start of DADDY ISSUES, we see Oliver, played by Matt Campanella, dressed to the nines and decked out for the kill in a head-to-toe, suave black leather outfit. He is getting ready for business in the BDSM parlor where he is in training to become a male dominatrix without peer. Unknown to him, today will be unlike any day he has ever shown up to take care of business.

Standing before a mirror, he preens, taking measure of the presence he wants to exude as well as the gravity in his voice (that must exude authority) as he chants, more than once, “Shut the fuck up.” Bristling with a dash of machismo, and still staring into the mirror, he wonders if he has applied enough eyeliner. Rod Sterling, if he were alive or slinking about, whose Twilight Zone episodes were rich with tantalizing fateful encounters for his characters, would no doubt be impressed with the fateful encounter in store for Oliver.

” … choking, whipping …” scheduled next. Picture courtesy of London Flair P.R.

Mirror, mirror on the wall. Picture courtesy of London Flair PR

Cutting to the chase, Oliver in a well plotted scene eventually discovers that it’s his dad whom he is supposed to whip and choke and be prepared for other orders from his Dominatrix master who may require the son to do other things to his daddy.

Like father like son. 🤣 The apple doesn’t fall from the tree. 🤪 What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. 👹 Picture, courtesy of London Flair P.R.

Foreground: Son, Oliver, played by Matt Campanella. Background, Dad, played by David Kelsey, yet to be revealed. Picture courtesy of London Flair PR

Cast, left to right: Dad played by David Kelsey; Dominatrix played by Milan Anderson; Son, Oliver, played by Matt Campanella. Picture courtesy of London Flair PR

What do a Son and a Daddy Say to Each Other After a Close Encounter of the BDSM kind?

[Pssst. The Ending Is a Hoot]

Left to right: Dad, played by David Kelsey; Son, played by Matt Campanella. Picture courtesy London Flair PR

The closing minutes or so, if not the closing seconds, of their small talk, ripostes, sallies and repartee – because of the creative minds of the filmmakers – were so good that this film reviewer dare not indulge or reveal out of fear that he could be held liable for writing a spoiler of all spoilers. Readers of this review need to see DADDY ISSUES. After all, its only four minutes or so of running time.

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Who Are These People

LGBTQ+ New Yorker Matt Campanella wrote, directed, produced, and stars in DADDY ISSUES. He recently guest-starred in the Tubi series, GREAT KILLS, and wrote, directed, and produced the upcoming film, YOUR CALL US IMPORTANT TO US. He’s a recipient of the Screencraft Quarterfinalist Award.

Latinx immigrant director and producer Stephanie Chloé Hepner is also a writer and actress, having appeared in LAW AND ORDER, NEW AMSTERDAM, THE EQUALIZER and more. She’s currently developing an LGBTQ+ comedy pilot, MAYBE THIS TIME, and producing THE 22, a film about PTSD and veteran suicide. In 2018, she produced her first feature, A BOY LIKE THAT.

A 2022 Kino Guarimba Film Fellow in Italy, she’s trained in Argentina, her home country, Villa La Pietra in Florence, and is an NYU Tisch graduate.

DADDY ISSUES was produced by Anthony Campanella and Hardy Awadjie. The cinematography was created by Nicholas Kalajdzic. The film premieres June 9, followed by screenings on June 14 and June 17.

The Dominatrix, played by  Milan Anderson; Oliver, played by Matt Campanella; Oliver’s mom, played by Maria Carrozza and Oliver’s Dad played by David Kelsey

DADDY ISSUES at Tribeca Fest 2023

Gregg W. Morris can be reached at gregghc@comcast.net, profgreggwmorris@gmail.com