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Accidental Occurrence is the story of 2 lives converging. Enter Maxi and Hal, two men who lead very different lives. Maxi is a young man who has been living on the edge, he's just beginning his life of crime and he's not very good at it. Harold, on the other hand, is a happily retired man who lives with his daughter in the outskirts of the crime-ridden city. Harold successfully built a small company which his daughter now runs, the company produces security bars for doors.

All the actions that both men take on this day, and before, take them to a single moment of synchronicity, a perfectly timed instant that changes their lives forever after. Accidental Occurrence explores the trajectory of time in accidents. It looks at the series of events that merge and fuse two lives in a single moment of time. Could a change in any of their actions, that day or in the past, shift the time in which they coincided? The exploration of time in the film is also present in the way the lives of Maxi and Harold interact throughout multiple different presentations of the events of that day. Accidental Occurrence offers endless crossroads, a myriad of entry points to a tragically finite timeline.



Accidental Occurrence is an experimental modular film. It is a film that has been constructed taking into consideration that it will be presented on a computer, where the rules of traditional analog media do not apply. In the case of this film, each viewing is unique because a computer program constructs and renders a different version of Accidental Occurrence just before viewing. The program follows a series of algorithms, combinatorial paths, and randomness to present ever-shifting sequences where audio, music, and visual elements of the story perfectly intermix.

Accidental Occurrence demonstrates that a modular approach to filmmaking not only is technically possible, but also aesthetically enriching. Besides presenting the film in endless different ways, its modularity offers viewers the ability to determine and alter multiple aspects of their viewing experience. While the story of Accidental Occurrence is simple, the modular approach allows viewers to expand or compress the film to any length from 5 to 70 minutes. The program determines what parts of the story are best to present in the allotted time.

The modular approach used in this film allows for other features beyond changing its length (as our main page shows). For example, viewers can alter the amount of time devoted a character, or change the actual editing to include or exclude foretelling sequences. The controlled variability that Accidental Occurrence offers translates into multiple editing capabilities. All the versions of the film linked from our main page have been pre-rendered and uploaded to YouTube beforehand.

However, the program and the media included in the AO USB drive quickly render new versions of the film, just before it is watched, based on user established parameters. There are many ways to take advantage of presenting a film on a computer and performing its editing through programming. Our previous project, A Space of Time, taught us plenty about the challenges and opportunities of this type of hypermedia work. If you are in academia and your field is related to digital media, you might be interested in this extra information.

Accidental Occurrence is another step in an exciting path of imagination, discovery, and creation of modular films, moving closer to fully achieving the artistic potential of using programming to sequence audiovisual narratives.


Diego Bonilla

Concept, Script, Production, Direction, Editing, and Programming

John Mannion

Photography Direction

Sarah Pickett

Music Composition and Sound Design

Chema Salinas

Location Sound Production and Soundtrack

Sean Hovendick

Additional Photography

Stephan Eichorn

Additional Programming

Michael Karpeev

Special Effects

Jared Landberg

Location Production Management

Special thanks to Bob and Jane Pickett, Penny Beile, Anne Neville-Bonilla, Eric Stanist, Fowler Custom Homes, and Gábor Damásdi.


Darian Sundberg - Maxi

Gary Voegle - Hal

Sarah Pickett - Emma

Jack Gargaro - Bad guy 1

Hilal Bahr - Bad guy 2

Sarah Galvin - Julia

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