THE DARK MATTER OF LOVE follows eleven-year-old Masha and five-year-old twin boys Marcel and Vadim as they leave Russia to spend their first year in Wisconsin as part of the Diaz family. When the reality of bonding with children who have grown up in institutions turns out to be more difficult than they ever imagined, the Diazes hire two of the world's best developmental psychologists to help them build their new family through science.

Claudio and Cheryl Diaz met at Disneyland in 1990, fell in love, married and had their only daughter Cami in 1997. Cheryl, one of six children herself, always wanted a big family and worked toward making this adoption a reality for six years. Claudio fled communist Cuba with his family and worked his way from cleaning toilets at Disneyland to becoming a Disney HR executive. He wants to give Masha, Marcel and Vadim the same gift his father gave him: a new life in America.

Dr. Robert Marvin, Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, has spent a lifetime developing a world-renowned therapy program that draws upon the past 100 years of scientific discoveries in the field of parent-child love. Dr. Marvin believes that he can help the Diazes create an environment in which Masha, Marcel and Vadim can form supportive, loving relationships. But can a scientific program really change the way the Diaz family members love each other? Cami resents sharing Claudio and Cheryl with her new siblings, while Masha, Marcel and Vadim struggle to relate to their new parents. As the Diazes try to bond with their new children we gain insight into the relationship patterns Claudio and Cheryl have inherited from their own parents. Dr. Marvin works with them to develop ways in which they can pass on all of the best and none of the worst aspects of their relationships with their own parents to their new children.

The Diaz family at TIFF: (front row) Cami, Claudio, Marcel, Masha, Vadim and Cheryl (back row) director Sarah McCarthy, producer Grace Hughes-Hallett and therapist Nicole Milliren

Sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, The Dark Matter of Love melds the story of the Diaz family learning to love with rare archival footage of science experiments exploring parent-child love. Director Sarah McCarthy fuses revealing footage of these experiments to the narrative, drawing audiences deeper into the dark matter of love and encouraging them to contemplate their own relationships through an unflinching, scientific lens.

The Diaz family's adoption was one of the last before Russia's controversial ban on adoptions by Americans became law in January 2013. Since then, the Russian Supreme Court has stirred up more controversy by also restricting adoptions to countries like Canada, where same sex marriages are legal. The Dark Matter of Love examines the human side of those politics. Watching the Diaz family over the course of one year is a testament to the mix of perseverance, improvisation, and blind faith required when adopting, as well as the ability of parents and children to adapt.

The Dark Matter of Love premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival with the entire Diaz family in attendance. It is directed by Sarah McCarthy and produced by Double Bounce Films.

Credits (Click to expand)

Dark Matter of Love


Written, Directed & Produced by

Sarah McCarthy

Produced by

Grace Hughes-Hallett

Executive Producers

Al Morrow

Christopher Wingader

Remy Blumenfeld

Executive Producers

Gordon Grender

Rob Tucker

Director of Photography

Liam Iandoli

Film Editor

John Mister

Supervising Sound Editor

Danton Tanimura

For Met Film

Executive Producers

Jonny Persey

Stewart Le Marechal


Commissioning Editor

Barbara Truyen

Post Production

Three Feet High

Associate Producer

Simon Middleton

Assistant Editors

Michael Aaglund

Dane Cross

Edit Assistant

Saima Ferdows


Toby J Tomkins

Post Production Supervisor

Rob Tucker


Joe Mccarten

Valery Ermakov

Additional Camera

Stewart Stroup

Paul Zwicker

Rob Tucker


Joe Hardy

Illya Mishchiy

Zoe Plant

Jenny Kagno

Archive Consultant

Aileen McCallister


Snug Visuals

Scientific Consultant

Michael Rutter

Production Team

Yolanda Zou

Maire Ryan

Mykola Bahl

Abigail Harding

Gery Georgieva

Anna Chettle

Jonas McQuiggin

Patrick Mccarthy

Molly Hughes-Hallett

Caroline Iandoli

Freya Walker Smith

Sound Design

Sacha Walker

Sound Editing

Burak Topalakci

Eli Haligua

Voice Over Artists

Johnnie Standing

Dan Russell

Original Music

Molly Nyman

Music Editor and Sound Engineer

Joe Rubel

Production Coordinators, Russia

Marina Erastova

Mila Taubkina



Music by Victor Holmberg, Johan Cederberg & Leopold Inkapool

Sweet Surprise

Seussical The Musical

Music by Stephen Flaherty

Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens

Warner Chappell


Written by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II

Williamson Music

An Imagem Company


Getty Images

HBO Archives

BBC Motion Gallery

AV Geeks


Eric Knudsen


With Special Thanks to

The Diaz Family

Bob Marvin, Ph.D, Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia

Director, Mary Ainsworth Attachment Clinic

Developer, The Circle of Security™

Nicole Milliren

Charles Zeanah

Alan Sroufe

Zound Istanbul

Tom O'Conner

Eric Knudsen

Lindy Taylor

The Waisman Center

Adoption Associates

Rome Corners Intermediate School

Prairie View Elementary School

Paul Davis At Getty Images

Suzanne Brunink at HBO Archives

A Double Bounce Production

in Association with Front Row Partners and Met Film

in Co-Production with VPRO and The Wellcome Trust


© 2013, Double Bounce Films

Also on CBC