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.
Dark Matter of Love
Written, Directed & Produced by
Director of Photography
Supervising Sound Editor
For Met Film
Stewart Le Marechal
Three Feet High
Toby J Tomkins
Post Production Supervisor
Freya Walker Smith
Voice Over Artists
Music Editor and Sound Engineer
Production Coordinators, Russia
Music by Victor Holmberg, Johan Cederberg & Leopold Inkapool
Seussical The Musical
Music by Stephen Flaherty
Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Written by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II
An Imagem Company
BBC Motion Gallery
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™
The Waisman Center
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