Packed with films about bodies, buddies, and politics, this year’s D.C. Independent Film Festival once again finds contenders from all over the world vying for that priceless treasure: a good review from the Post that will help them get into Sundance. The buzz is around Melody Gilbert’s Whole (at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 7), which follows “wannabes”—physically healthy men with a desire that has gnawed at them all their lives: amputation. Gilbert manages to be both objective and compassionate in her interrogations of these men, their families, and their physicians. Similarly, Franco Sacchi and Gian Claudio Guiducci’s American Eunuchs (at 9 p.m. Sunday, March 7) lays bare the lives of American men who voluntarily choose to be castrated. Local filmmaker Tim Martin’s Rock-N-Roll (at 6 p.m. Friday, March 5) focuses on rock stars—a breed at least distantly related to castrati—setting up a classic dilemma: Should a young man aspire to rock or perpetuate his family’s duckpin-bowling legacy? A karaoke competition could be his breakthrough, but will our hero’s dreams propel him toward stardom or a drift into the gutter? Local filmmaker Jill Johnston-Price makes a strong showing with Bludren, (pictured; at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 10) a hand-painted 3-D computer-animation short based on medieval myths about the mandrake plant. When a woman unearths the man-shaped root and tries to befriend it, the results are both creepy and beautiful. And just in time for tax season, local director Rich West presents Government Approved! The Films of Warren G. Spaulding (screening with Bludren), a collection of taxpayer-funded infomercials (filmed mostly on location at the National Archives) hosted by noted tax-o-phile Fenton W. Abernathy Jr. The festival and related events run to Thursday, March 11, at Loews Cineplex Cinema, 5100 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Passes for individual films are $10. See City List and Showtimes for a complete schedule of events, or call (202) 537-9493 or visit www.dciff.org for more information. (Bidisha Banerjee)

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