E!’s Raising a F***ing Star may be a reality TV docuseries about four families’ quest to make their child a star, but one of the families faces the troublesome possibility of being separated someday.
College sweethearts Cool Benson and his husband Kelly Dedman adopted Daelyanna when she was a baby. Thrilled to become parents, the doting fathers have dedicated their lives to their child. Benson, who is a professional makeup artist and performer, was especially tickled when he realized Daelyanna had a multitude of talents and could follow her in her father’s footsteps and beyond.
In an effort to showcase her talents, Benson wrote and produced a short film Separate that reflected some of the draconian laws being passed in several states. And while the film was designed to spotlight Daelyanna, Benson said he and Dedman are truly concerned this fictional film could possibly become their reality.
‘Raising a F***ing Star’ Dad said ‘Separate’ was written from a place of fear
Benson explained to Showbiz Cheat Sheet that the film was written from an authentic place. “That topic hits really close to home,” he said. “And it was written out of fear. It was written out of fear of what’s happening in the world right now. With rights being taken away from people. We don’t know how far it will go.”
The DCD Pride Arts Foundation shared how millions of LGBTQ families share this serious worry. “Our first project, Separate, is a short film with a strong gut-punch. Imagine the United States in the near future where gay marriage and the parental rights of same-sex families are threatened. Everything hangs in the balance at a conservative-leaning Supreme Court. Separate explores an alternate reality that is no longer unimaginable.”
Cool and Daelyanna star in ‘Separate’
Benson is proud of Separate, where he stars alongside Daelyanna as they act out the horrors of “what if.” He said the film has made it into a few film festivals. “We have submitted it to a couple of film festivals, not as many as I’d like to have submitted to, but we did get accepted into so few,” he said.
“And I feel like it still has a lot of legs. Like the back end of submitting this season because now we’re fully ready,” he shared. “The film festival circuit kind of starts later. We were kind of finished with it in the middle of kind of the circuit. So we have to do kind of the back-end work that it takes.”
“Like you have to get the film made, color it and edit it and do all that stuff,” he described. “But then it’s all the back end of production that you have to do in order to really get it seen. So we’ve got it out there a little bit, but with all the other things that we’ve had going on that’s exciting, that that hasn’t gone as far as I would like.”
What was filming ‘Raising a F***ing Star’ like?
Benson teased “big” projects for Daelyanna and reflected on what the journey was like to film Raising a F***ing Star. “Doing this series was really a growing experience for me and Daelyana and Kelly,” Benson said. “Because I really wanted her to shine and bring forth opportunities that would help her to shine.”
“And I come from the school of if you’re not getting opportunities that are out there that you’re seeing yourself in, then you make them for yourself,” he added. “You show the world what you can do and then eventually others will see it. In creating things together, I certainly learned that I should listen more as a dadager. I didn’t always know that she has good ideas and it is possible to collaborate with an 11-year-old.”
Catch the new E! series Raising A F***ing Star Wednesday at 9:30 ET.