Plateau serving as backdrop for ‘The Claw’

Do you remember that “sensational” horse-sex thing back in 2007? At the time, an independent Seattle studio came here and filmed a documentary about the people involved. The movie is called “Zoo” and apparently it’s a pretty good film because it was voted one of the top five American films at the Directors Sidebar in the Cannes Film Festival and was a documentary winner at the Sundance festival. Though I haven’t see it, I understand it has some beautiful shots of our town and the surrounding countryside.

I’d never heard of any other motion picture being made here until the last couple months. But now, by golly, it seems Enumclaw is becoming a major film location because recently there were two movies being shot here, simultaneously. One is a standard, full-scale movie with a story and plot, and the other is a centennial documentary about our Plateau region. I’ll delve into the first one in this column and cover the documentary next week.

Rocky Hessler was raised around here and appreciated the small-town, fresh-air atmosphere of the community and the Plateau in general. But he dreamed of making a movie and, since Enumclaw isn’t especially famous as a film capital, he headed for Los Angeles and Burbank. It wasn’t until he’d experienced the vulgarity, tawdriness and soot of Tinseltown that he clearly realized just how incredibly lovely Enumclaw really is.

To some degree, this is probably why he came back here to film his motion picture. It’s called “The Claw” and Hessler is the writer, director and one of the producers. It’s billed as a tense and exciting movie, built around a love triangle and plenty of action that climaxes with a first-class fight scene.

To finance the project, Hessler turned to Kickstarter – an Internet coalition with resources in excess of $700 million, fueled by people who make pledges and grants to various artistic works. Pledge $25 to “The Claw” and, when it’s completed, Hessler will give you a DVD. Pledge $150 and he’ll used you in the movie (as an extra, of course.)

Google Hessler and you’ll find a little “travelogue” of businesses and sites where he’s filmed around town. For instance, the Lee Hotel, Pennies From Heaven, Enumclaw Tires and the Green River Gorge. In many cases, he’s using local, unknown and untested actors and actresses.

As I walked out of the Lee Lounge a few weeks ago I found Hessler and some actors filming a scene in the coffee shop. I didn’t talk to any of them. In fact, I didn’t hang around to find out exactly what they were doing; that is, given the lights and camera, I realized they were filming something, but I never dreamed they were making a movie.

Hessler will probably finish “The Claw” sometime next year. And, if you can imagine such a thing, he plans to hold the world premier in the Chalet Theater.

Anyway, after he finishes all that, he might find himself floundering about wondering what project to tackle next. If so, I’d encourage him to call me. I’ve written a couple screenplays that will knock his socks off.