Jessie’s Dad is a 2011 documentary film by Boaz Dvir, that tells the story of Mark Lunsford’s transformation from an uneducated truck driver to a child activist after the murder of his daughter Jessica by a convicted child molester.
The hour-long documentary follows Lunsford as he visits Capitol Hill and state capitols to urge lawmakers to wise up and crack down on child predators. The film offers a behind-the-scenes look at a single father haunted by the knowledge that a child molester held his daughter within earshot for three days.
Jessie’s Dad was initially funded by a Carole Fielding Production Grant, along with a University of Florida research grant. Mark Lunsford, his parents and several other members of his family attended the 2008 screening of Jessie’s Dad at the University of Florida. Lunsford and the film received two standing ovations from a packed theater. Green Apple Entertainment is distributing Jessie’s Dad, which is available from iTunes and Amazon, where it has received an average rating of 5 (the highest possible). Lifetime and Investigation Discovery have used a substantial amount of Jessie’s Dad footage in their programs. The film has screened in several film festivals, where it has won top prizes, and prestigious venues, including Columbia University’s satellite campus in Paris.
Dvir reflected on the film years later in an article in the Centre Daily Times: “As a documentary filmmaker, I change my mind about societal issues related to my projects much like kids experience growth — I only notice it months, sometimes years, later. Directing and producing “Jessie’s Dad” […] altered my point of view on mandatory sentencing.”