MVFF’s ‘Dina’ is a personal look at a unique love story

"Dina" tells the story of a couple on the autism spectrum who are planning a wedding. —Courtesy Cinereach

The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival (MVFF) and the Island Autism Group are coming together to present the winner of the Grand Jury Prize from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, “Dina.” The documentary film follows the story of the main character, Dina, a 48-year-old woman with Asperger’s, as she invites her fiancé Scott, a quiet Walmart door greeter, to move in with her. Scott, who also has Asperger’s — generally considered being on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum — brings his own challenges into the relationship.

Dina lost her first husband to cancer, and survived a brutally abusive relationship before she gets together with Scott. All that is changed in her new relationship. This is a woman who knows what she wants; Scott is less sure he can hold up his end of the bargain — especially in the more physically intimate aspects of their relationship.

The film takes an inside, honest look at the obstacles the couple experience, following their everyday lives as they prepare for the wedding. It reveals how Dina faces their relationship challenges in a way more fearless than most. After overcoming tragedy, Dina is the star of her own story, one that gives hope to anyone looking for love, and establishes that people considered “disabled” are very able, even in establishing a romantic relationship.

Brian Ditchfield, MVFF programming and managing director, said “Dina” was his favorite film of the year.

The two film subjects are so incredibly honest about love, sex, and living together. That honesty, combined with the way the film is shot and edited, makes it feel more like a narrative film than a documentary. It is definitely not to be missed,” Mr. Ditchfield said.

The Island Autism Group partnered with the MVFF last year for a screening of “Life Animated,” another film that highlighted autism.

“It was a really successful event for both organizations,” Mr.Ditchfield said. “We wanted to capitalize on that success and keep the collaboration growing this year. The Island Autism Group is doing amazing work, and I’m glad the MVFF can be a small part in spreading the word about their efforts.”

The Island Autism Group has been around for more than 10 years, providing goods and services for the Island’s autistic population. They’ve provided well over $100,000 in iPads, therapeutic riding sessions, drumming sessions, therapies, communication technology, and financial assistance for Island students and their families. Kevin McGrath, a member of the board of directors for the IAG, said the nonprofit organization is happy to work with the MVFF again this summer.

“The IAG is looking forward to partnering with the MVFF, and we thank them for their continuing support, and for recognizing the need to build a better future for people and families living with autism on the Island,” Mr. McGrath said.

The film plays on Wednesday, July 12, at the Chilmark Community Center, with dinner and live music at 6:30 pm. The film begins at 8 pm; $10 members; $20 general admission; couch seats available for a $5 upgrade. Islander worker’s discount available. Visit