'Horizontal Accidents' filming underway

Students set up camera position
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Students set up camera position
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Filming began this week on "Horizontal Accidents," the 2010 Summer Film Project at Grand Valley State University, directed by Tom Seidman from Los Angeles, an industry professional with more than 20 years of experience.

Seidman, son of the late L. William Seidman, founder of Grand Valley, most recently shot the film "The Bunny Lady" in Grand Rapids, starring Florence Henderson. He was selected to work with Grand Valley students this year as they produce a short film over the course of 12 weeks.

"This is a very ambitious project," said Seidman, "We have four funerals, an embalming room, and a suicide jumper flattening a car. We have a lot of stunts and challenges, but we've been doing great."

Student crew members work alongside professionals to produce the film and hone skills learned in the classroom. Each year the School of Communications' film project has produced a professional quality film that is screened locally and at national film festivals. Filming will continue through July, followed by post-production work during fall semester classes.

Written by Grand Valley alumnus Michael Salisbury in fiction writing classes while an undergrad, "Horizontal Accidents" was first published in the university's student literary publication Fishladder and later in the national publication Black Warrior Review. The screenplay adaptation was written by Tom Castillo, a Grand Valley writing major, working closely with Salisbury and Seidman in another real-world educational experience.

The dark, yet funny, story follows a week in the life of two modern-day grave robbers. Boeve is a shady, charismatic funeral worker who talks the bereaved into burying their loved ones with precious (and pawn-able) mementos. His partner is Brandon, whose aimless life is shaken by a suicide jumper who lands on his car, and later discovers his insurance only covers "horizontal accidents."