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DINA

Synopsis

An eccentric suburban woman and a Walmart door-greeter navigate their evolving relationship in this unconventional nonfiction love story.

The Filmmakers

Festivals & Awards

Sundance Film Festival

2017

Grand Jury Prize: U.S. Documentary

Dina, an outspoken and eccentric 49-year-old in suburban Philadelphia, invites her fiancé Scott, a Walmart door greeter, to move in with her. Having grown up neurologically diverse in a world blind to the value of their experience, the two are head-over-heels for one another, but shacking up poses a new challenge. Scott freezes when it comes to physical intimacy, and Dina, a Kardashians fanatic, wants nothing more than to share with Scott all she’s learned about sensual desire from books, TV shows, and her previous marriage. Her increasingly creative forays to draw Scott close keep hitting roadblocks—exposing anxieties, insecurities, and communication snafus while they strive to reconcile their conflicting approaches to romance and intimacy.

Filmmakers Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini construct seamless vérité scenes that lovingly frame Dina and Scott’s vulnerable, yet matter-of-fact romance. Whether at the local nail salon, the warm beaches of Ocean City, Dina’s racy bachelorette party, or on honeymoon in the Poconos, Dina captures the cadences and candid conversations of a relationship that reexamines the notion of love on-screen.

+ Festival Website

True/False Film Fest

2017

Meet Dina. She gets her nails done, she rides the bus, and, once again, she has fallen in love. Despite a “smorgasbord of issues” (her mom’s words), Dina shines, engaged with both the world and her soon-to-be second husband, Scott. The couple’s idiosyncrasies are captured by an empathetic camera as she prepares for her wedding. Yet something lurks in Dina’s heart: a frightening past that she can’t shake. The carefully quirky visuals of an indie rom-com pair with Michael Cera’s bubbly pop-tastic soundtrack to capture the plastic surfaces of a distinctly American landscape. But the heart of the film is a truly unique love story, and Dina herself is a contagious smile, warming her TV-lit bedroom. 

+ Festival Website

Reviews

Alternately comic and tragic and best when it's both at once, DINA humanizes a world of people who were only dehumanized because we allowed them to be...DINA comes from a deep place of love...We need films like this. Whereas most docs about “different” people are content to flatter our empathy, DINA aims to deepen it.”

-Indiewire

Viewers who might think they wouldn’t be able to relate to someone like the brassy, plain-spoken 48-year-old Dina may be surprised at just how very, yes, universal her story can be. Directors Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles (who previously collaborated on MALA MALA) never condescend to or coddle their vivacious leading lady, and the result is a fascinating love story.”

-The Wrap

Perhaps the most beautiful romance at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival plays out in DINA, a documentary as warm-hearted and as open as its title character...In DINA Sickles and Santini strip away many of the trite cliches of documentaries about disability, and show two people dealing with autism together and on their own terms.”

-Salt Lake Tribune

A sensitive snapshot of two ordinary people on the autism spectrum who are determined to carve out a meaningful future together...A vérité documentary that mirrors the minor-key humor, the rough-hewn texture, the gentle conflicts and awkward grace of many quirky indie narrative features, DINA cozies up unobtrusively to its complex, strong-willed protagonist as she takes charge of her impending wedding.”

-The Hollywood Reporter