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Fender Bender Films


At this point, the Film is nothing more than an archived project.  Over the past few years, people have been sending us links to web pages that have many variants about the story of Rubbernecking, a.k.a. Accidents Don’t Happen, and suffice to say, 95% of those are grossly inaccurate.  So, since not much else is probably going to happen with the film, we thought it would be good to give the fans, cast and crew an update, and give a brief overview of the overall production.

It started out great.  Sean and Ross were stuck in a traffic jam while on the way to pick up some props, and after having attended many film festivals with their short films, they decided to make an art house film that was character-driven about a traffic jam. 

The script turned out well.  They didn’t expect an Oscar, but it was extremely rich in character.  They had many table reads which seemed to go really well, with a lot of comics that Sean was performing with at the time, some of which made it into the film.  When they were casting, they looked for people who had some comedy in their background, or who had done some comedic performances, so even when the serious scenes were played, it would still have a sense of “lightness” about it. 

It took a little while to raise money.  The pre-production and storyboarding gave the film a great push, and extremely polished start. They ended up receiving a couple $100,000 from some rappers who decided to invest in a film project, mainly for a showcase for some of their non-traditional music. 

Then, the “film business” happened.  The investors decided to pull out. After just a few days of filming on 35 mm film, Sean and Ross were off to try and raise money once again.  The original investors that financed the seed money decided to invest in the rest of the project and save the production.  A year had passed. They found a financially viable option: to finish filming in high definition.  According to Chris Wissinger (a top HD consultant), this was the first completed feature that mixed 35 mm and high definition that was screened for an audience.  The initial screening was for a film market, in which it was entered as a “work in progress.”  Sean and Ross were still trying to raise funding for doing a proper finish of the film project.  Over the next few years, they cycled through 4 sets of editors and a few film festivals with varying edits of the film. 

Finally, the film was picked up by a sales agent who had a small Distribution company.  The distributor decided the film needed yet another edit, and a new name, as the film had been pitched multiple times to various people for finishing funds.  With a new edit, and a new name, the original vision was mostly lost, as the Directors had little to no influence in the edit. “What is a set up without a punch line, and what is a drama without drama?”  Their film had been edited to have a much better pace, but yet lost the essence of the character-driven, black comedy, art house film.  The directors found it equivalent to taking “My Dinner with Andre” and trying to turn it into a sit-com. 

At the time, with the tired pursuit from the Directors/Producers and the enthusiastic charge of the sales agent, they decided to give it a go once again.  So, off to one more festival and the film markets. 

As any financier knows, you have a limited amount of years to write-off any project.  After many offers, but none viable, and no major sales, the executives wrote-off the film. 

At this point, it would be a legal conundrum to sort out how the film could be pursued for distribution, and since all the song rights were only negotiated for festivals, it would be close to impossible to put the film out.  The original Screen Actors Guild (SAG) contract was so old, it didn’t even specify DVD formats at the time.  The re-negotiation for the union actors, the music rights, and legally sorting out how anything could be sold after a write-off is more time and money than the producers find it worth, with its current distributor’s edit (which is the only edit that had some type of finishing – i.e., sound mix, color correction, etc.)

We wish to thank everyone who dedicated countless hours and time, to our cast that enjoyed at least the original script, and to the many people who showed up for the few festival screenings we did have.  If it ever does come to light or surfaces in any form, we will be happy to make a big announcement or media push so the few remaining people who would like to see it have the opportunity.  But for now, we have moved on in our careers, and enjoy the thoughts and memories and lecturing on the unique downfalls and glories of the film industry surrounding our project. 

For a film about having road blocks in your life, "Rubbernecking" sure as heck had its share.

~ 2011   UPDATE ~

Sean Kinney (L), & Ross Martin (R). The caption on the gravestone reads “R.I.P. “Rubbernecking” 1995 - 2011 A loving vision, film & friend. Taken by the business he longed to be in.”