“Dina” – A Documentary Film Following an Autistic Couple

A Film at the Sundance Film Festival

Each year at the Sundance Film Festival, my wife and I attend at least four films from a very diverse group, drama and comedy to documentaries. Yesterday, we attended “Dina,” a documentary following an autistic couple. When we selected this film, I did not realize that it was a documentary. At first, I was disappointed that it was in this category as I thought from the film description that it would be comedic. Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely humorous moments.

   Throughout the viewing, I had some unanswered questions. Were Dina and Scott actors or were they an actual autistic couple? Could Dina and Scott be actors that were cast in the roles of an autistic couple? I decided they had to be damn good actors if they were. At first, the film moved rather slowly for me, however, it did become more captivating as it approached the end.

When the film concluded, a number of viewers quickly exited. My wife and I however stayed for the “Q & A.” It is always a treat to hear the writers and directors share their inspiration for a film. In addition, Dina and Scott were special guests onstage. They not only revealed much about the film but also their lives. The film was not scripted, but followed the lives of Dina and Scott, an actual autistic couple. In the film, Scott often responded with a grunt in agreement or a verbal “ahuh.” Likewise during the Q&A, he didn’t have much to say. Of course, Dina monopolized the microphone and was very transparent. She shined and called herself a “Diva.”

Dina shared several times that she studied acting, drama, and journalism in college. She also emphasized that she is a national public speaker. Not only was Dina very articulate, but also very inspirational.

The father of one of the directors had been Dina’s teacher. In fact, she had babysit that young man. The father had since passed, but the son stated he had known Dina his entire life. He had become Dina’s mentor.  TaDa! The film was born out of life experience.

Shame on those people who left immediately after the conclusion. They missed so much. Dina and Scott were also in the lobby afterwards. It was our pleasure to tell Dina how much we loved the film and that we find her very inspirational. For the many people who view autism with derision or mockery, shame on you. Take a ruler and smack your hand, better yet your mouth.

My wife and I are ready to see “Dina” again. I encourage you readers to see “Dina.” To Dina and Scott, I say thank you for sharing yourselves and best wishes to you both.



Author: Jerry Hardesty Studio

I am an Abstract Expressionist Painter, living in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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