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January 3, 2018

Throughout 2017, festival audiences were captivated by the story of Dina and Scott’s relationship, in all its sweetness and complexity. Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini’s Dina is perhaps especially appreciated by neurodiverse viewers, who rarely have their experiences represented in cinema. 

In October when the film opened theatrically via The Orchard, Cinereach and Picture Motion partnered with the distributor to ensure that neurodiverse couples and individuals knew Dina was coming and could make a (date) night of it. They identified organizations that serve neurodiverse populations and offered group discounts on movie tickets, pizza, and Lyfts to the theater.

In New York, the team worked closely with Hankering for More (HFM), a program of YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities, which supports adults with learning and developmental differences as they build meaningful friendships through coaching and organized activities. On October 7th, HFM members and alumni met for lunch, followed by a screening of Dina at the Quad in Manhattan, where Dina Buno herself, and Directors Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles, gave a Q&A and stayed to talk with the audience in the theater lobby for an impromptu gathering that lasted nearly two hours.

Above: official trailer for Dina.

Lauren Jacobs, Supervisor of Community and Family Services for HFM, commented that the event provided a welcome opportunity for the audience to think about relationships in their lives, and “sparked conversations about dating, sex, romantic relationships, marriage and other dynamics.”

Dominique, a 32-year-old female member of HFM, appreciated “the way [Dina] talked about her disability so openly.” This, said Lauren, facilitated a group discussion surrounding whether to disclose a disability in relationships and the risks and benefits that can come with that decision.

The group also discussed their own challenges in dating and friendship. Some members were surprised to see a depiction of a marriage between adults with autism, and one young man remarked that Dina was the first time he’d seen someone with autism get married. “My therapist told me but I didn’t believe it,” he said.

HFM members also enjoyed observing Dina and Scott’s independence, something that can be hard to come by in a big city like New York. “It’s good she has her own apartment and a cat,” said Luis (23), who asked Dina for more on what it felt like when she and Scott took a trip to Atlantic City together, a memorable scene in the film.

The gallery of photos below, by photographer Daniel Arnold, depict how meaningful the day was, not only for HFM members and staff but for Dina as well. 

On January 9th, nearly a year after winning a Grand Jury Prize in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2017 Sundance film festival, and one month after winning Best Feature at the IDA Documentary awards, Dina becomes available on iTunes, digital platforms, and On Demand. The DVD, with bonus features including audio commentary from Dina, also becomes available on Amazon.com on 1/9, with streaming on Hulu to follow in March.

We’re thrilled Dina will be more widely accessible and only wish Dina herself could be delivered to viewers’ homes for the hugs, photos and extended conversation that add so much to the experience.

Click through the gallery to meet some attendees of the Hankering for More screening of Dina!