Horror movies are all the rage right now, particularly the "Saiko Hora" (psychological horror) genre of Asian films. These are the ones where freaky-ass shit happens for almost no reason, almost like the stuff you think you see in your peripheral vision, or items from your darkest subconscious--they actually do exist and they want to hurt you.

Once again, though, a documentary has been made that proves truth can be much freakier than fiction.

On Thursday, March 3, the documentary Whole is screening at 911 Media Arts Center. What's it about? Though I have no idea how director Melody Gilbert found them, it's about healthy people who are obsessed with becoming amputees. One guy pretends to be an amputee up to five times a day, while another became so obsessed that he shot off his own leg with a shotgun. The disorder is so new that psychologists don't even have a name for it yet. Not that I have to tell you this, but… that's more fucked up than a Crispin Glover film. (By the way, I've been in contact with Mr. Glover about finding a Seattle home for his latest, What Is It?, which premiered at Sundance. No news yet.)

On a much less horrific note, TheFilmSchool is having an open house on Saturday, March 5, at the Northwest Film Forum from noon to 2:00 p.m. Though I never doubted their idealism, when TheFilmSchool started up I thought the main audience would be rich Microsoft dilettantes who figured they might as well become screenwriters and filmmakers. I mean, the program looks expensive compared to the typical workshops around town and it requires, like, three weeks of hyper-intensive study. Unlike most workshops, however, the program deals strictly with storytelling and screenwriting, and not at all with the technology of filmmaking.

The reason I am now plugging their open house is because everyone I know who's gone through the program--and I know a few, and they're not Microsoft dilettantes--has absolutely loved it. At the heart of every good film is a good story, and that's the point of TheFilmSchool. At the open house you can meet the founders: Tom Skerritt, Stewart Stern, Rick Stevenson, John Jacobsen, and Warren Etheredge.

Another potential nightmare when making a movie is bad casting. Along those lines, a great educational opportunity taking place this week is a Casting Workshop on Monday, March 7, at 911 Media Arts Center. It's widely known that casting is one of the most important aspects of a successful movie (after the script, of course). That said, too many filmmakers shoot themselves in the foot (or blow their leg off with a shotgun) by using amateur actors like friends and family instead of tapping into the hungry local and national acting communities.

Steve Salamunovich of Complete Casting is heading the workshop, which consists of actual callbacks for three short films. The filmmakers are Sue Corcoran, Thom Harp, and T. J. Martin, who are making the films as part of Cinema Seattle's Fly Filmmaking program. You should know that I would have mentioned this workshop even if I wasn't one of this year's producers behind Fly Filmmaking. The event is free to members of SAG (who are also a sponsor), AFTRA, Equity actors, IFP/Seattle, and the Northwest Film Forum, but anyone is invited. Space is limited so if you want a seat you need to RSVP to gretchen@911media.org, or call 911 Media Arts Center and ask for Gretchen. First come, first served.


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