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A prophet in a strange land; the story of one Hispanic


By Marivel Guzman

 

Back in his younger poetic years, Diego Bonilla, now a professor at Sacramento State University, couldn’t foresee what his passion for the internet would bring to fulfill his dreams as a digital dimensionality event manipulator.

He has worked for more than 20 years building a story of many faces that has brought success to his innovator mind, shaping a new perspective in the field of experimental filmmaking, pedagogy and digital communication.

Sacramento State has yet to recognize such a luminary, a missed opportunity for Sac State to maximize on one of its own faculty member.

Diego Bonilla, was born and raised in Mexico City and he said, his privileged status brought him to the prestigious Syracuse University in New York, where he obtained his doctorate in Media Management, in 2003, winning a doctoral prize in Mass Communications with his dissertation; “The Medium is the Measure of Itself,” he said.

His first book “El Anfitreatro de la Memoria,” (Amphitheater of the Memory)was published on 1995, this book was the beginnings of a long career as a published author. El Anfitreatro de la Memoria is a short book of personal love poetry, which “I rather not revive,” he said.

His career took a dramatic turn when his passion for the Liberal Arts changed for computers, communications and algorithms.

Bonilla is a rather shy person who does not brag about his achievements and prizes, but an internet search unveils his international recognitions as scholar, media innovator, experimental filmmaker, published author and countless international conferences and lecture invitations from around the world.

Bonilla has an extensive repertoire list with publications; including books, online learning tools material, text books, editorial medium presentation, media and computer text used until recently in Ecuador, among his publication you find journals and Film instructional methodology.

Hypermedia is one of his scholarly works, “Developing hypermedia is an absolute passion,” he said.

At age 49, Bonilla is married with a 5-year old daughter and happy with his professional and personal achievements. Five years ago, when his daughter born, he found happiness in life, he said.

According to Bonilla, he changed his career at request of his parents, who convinced him to study Business Administrator, “to manage his artistic career.” This dramatic change from poet to business impacted his passion for poetry and storyteller, he said.

Recently Bonilla’s prototype film “Accidental Occurrence,” was selected as a premier experimental film preview at 12 international festivals, winning “Best Experimental Short Film,” Latin Prizes Festival, at Spain, 2017.

Sac State still haven’t congratulated its brilliant professor, according to Sac State Communication Department Chair Gerry Smith, said “I guess is up to me the chair of the department to communicate to Public Affairs.”

“The department is aware of his accolades and prize and of his success,” Smith said the university is lucky to have him.

Other than receiving a congratulatory email from Sheree Meyer, dean of undergraduate studies, Bonilla has not gotten any recognition from the administration. Although Smith recognizes Bonilla “As a brilliant academic and artist that creates innovative work, which is impressive by any standards,” she did not inform the university public affairs.

There are only two persons working in this type of projects, like the The new Prestidigitador. Native strategies for the creation of hypermedia, and Accidental Occurrence are an innovation in the art of digital manipulation of audio-visual, “Me here at Sac and a professor at MIT,” he said.

I found Bonillas’s “Accidental Occurrence” film at U-Nite, at Crocker Museum, which allows Sac State and students, faculty and staff to showcase their work for one night.

Such luminary shouldn’t be left in the anonymity of a classroom said Walter Yost, Sac State associate professor. “The university should support its faculty especially those who potentially bring good PR,” Yast said.

“Accidental Occurrence,” is a film that projects the dimensionality of an event, Bonilla said. You can program a set of frames in a film and chose which characters, which events you want to play in a story. With the algorithms he invented, he could generate a sequence of 9,000,000 different events with a film of 70 frames, “You’ll never watch the same film,” he said.

He sees himself in 20 years with free time and financial worry-free luxury life to develop more of his projects like this type of experimental film. Until now, he has financed his own projects, “this type of project is out of the university’s budget.

Winning the Mallorca Festival has given him the exposure he was looking for. It is not easy, he summited other projects to dozens of festivals and this time he got lucky, Bonilla said.

Accidental Occurrence was officially for dozen of International festivals among thousands of film submissions, he said.

He is not looking for money with his projects, Bonilla said but the opportunity to innovate the world of communications through the well learn use of computers.

Bonilla enjoys teaching computer and media, he said, teaching brings him peace of mind and his experimental film making technology is a long time passion and pastime that will bring change in the way technology is used, he said.

“He has opened my eyes to new types of films and new ways to think about them,” said Mark Turner, communication major.

For Kelsey Harning, Bonilla has a unique perspective as a professor, “he opens my eyes to new ways of thinking about films,” she appreciates how Bonilla makes them (students) get to be more thoughtful and critical thinkers.

Sac State has missed the opportunity to maximize this brilliant Hispanic computer savvy innovator and Filmmaker, who is a name recognized world wide as scholar and computer genius.

 

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