In the pre-production stage of his film Automatic At Sea, writer/director Matthew Lessner saw a woman walking a dog along a Vineyard beach and was rendered speechless. The dog was the same wolf-like breed that had recently visited his dreams. When the 34-year-old Oregonian ran to find the woman on the beach, she and the dog were gone.

On an Island, however, people don’t often disappear for long. “Just right at the right point, kind of miraculously, we crossed her path again,” Mr. Lessner said by phone on Monday. He asked the woman if they could use her dog in the movie. “She was amazing and cooperative. And her dog is a prominent part of the film.”

Mr. Lessner found the Island to be infinitely generous in many other ways, providing everything he wanted for the film. He came to the Vineyard as the guest of longtime summer resident David Henry Gerson to shoot Automatic At Sea. Mr. Gerson produced and acted in the film and will attend a screening on July 30 at the Capawock Theatre in Vineyard Haven.

The director’s first film was called The Woods and debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. Both films were created in a collaborative process where the location inspired the course of the film. Mr. Lessner welcomes spontaneity into the framework of his stories, folding new locations, new ideas and new dogs into his plan.

“So much of what the film is, is a tapestry that’s woven through with Island,” he said. “There’s a certain type of film where, before someone sets out to make it, everything is exactly perfectly in place. I prefer to remain open to the circumstances and to see what presents itself.”

It was especially important for Mr. Lessner to remain open this time. Before he visited the Vineyard, he thought of the place a presidential vacation spot. But when he arrived in the quiet late-winter, he was surprised to see the wild open spaces. Where he expected orderly privet hedges, he found tangled vines and undisturbed woods.

“It felt like we were wandering around a deserted island. That gave me a mysterious feeling. That kind of built itself into what the film became.”

Although the island in Automatic at Sea is a fictionalized version of Martha’s Vineyard, Mr. Lessner also described the Vineyard as its own character in the film. For people who know the Vineyard well, he hopes that the film will show the place, not just it’s fields and forests but its energy and spirit in a new way.

Automatic at Sea screens at 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 30 at the Capawock Theatre.