MALA MALA Directors Sickles and Santini Win at Sundance With Documentary DINA

Dina, the documentary by Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini, directors of Mala Mala, won the Grand Jury Prize for Best U.S. documentary at this year's edition of Sundance. The winners where announced this evening at the festival's closing ceremony in Park City.

The film follows Dina, an outspoken and eccentric 49-year-old in suburban Philadelphia, who 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 Sickles and 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.

Additionally, Mexican film Sueño en otro idioma / I Dream in Another Language by Ernesto Contreras was the winner of the Audience Award in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition. The film follows Martin as he arrives in a remote Mexican village to record a dying, ancient indigenous language. He finds the last two speakers of the language, but they refuse to speak to each other because of a 50 year grudge.

The 2017 edition of the Sundance Film Festival took place January 19-29 in Park City, Utah.