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"Resurrection Ferns" is written by Susan Kerns and directed by Tate Bunker.

Bunker won't let economy dampen his film work

The current economic climate might not really seem to be the time to try to raise nearly $185,000 to try and make an independent, feature-length film, but that's not stopping Milwaukee filmmaker Tate Bunker.

Bunker, along with Found the Ribbon Films -- run by The Wicked Hop co-owner Miles O'Neil -- is pounding the pavement and working the phones to finance what they call, "a high-end, low-budget, simple and captivating film to screen and sell at a major festival."

That film is called "Resurrection Ferns," directed by Bunker and written by Susan Kerns.

It is expected to be completed by autumn.

Found the Ribbon's investment proposal describes the film as, "A contemporary Little Red Riding Hood tricks her family and sets out on her own to contend with the wolves of the world. She meets a slight older, worldlier companion, and together they venture to see the wild horses of Cumberland Island. The reward does not come easily or without a price. It's 'Thelma and Louis,' with less baggage."

At the new year dawned, Bunker -- who teaches in UWM's Film Department and is a well-known figure in the independent film scene in Milwaukee -- was already hard at work making "Resurrection Ferns."

"I have just started production today and will rap the Florida part of the movie Jan. 16," said Bunker via e-mail from Florida.

"We are still trying to raise funds and hoping to shoot the Milwaukee footage in mid February. The full Milwaukee crew is down here now and we have finished two days of principal photography."

In their proposal, Bunker -- who has directed more than 30 films over the past decade -- and O'Neil -- a former student of Bunker's at UWM -- note that $35,000 has already been raised and it is that seed money that has helped Bunker get started on filming with actors like Mark Metcalf, Hannah Obst and Paige Bunker.

He says that the economy has definitely affected the making of "Resurrection Ferns."

"The economy does worry me and it is not very wise to blow all your money on a movie, especially now, but thats what I am doing. It is the most I have tried and if not for the current economic situation, I would have met my desired budget," muses Bunker.

"Working to fund the film through investors was working until this summer when everything started to fall. Promised investors slowly started pulling out, as a film is a risky investment. So much so that Miles and I are the principal investors."

But, in the end, says Bunker, he's a filmmaker and money will always be an issue and at the same time, is never an issue.

"It doesn't concern me too much, I have been a starving artist for 20 years now and as a filmmaker, this is what I do. This is who I am. If I won a million dollars tomorrow, I would blow it all on another film. I can't help it."

And the progress of the film?

"Things are going great and our spirits high," says Bunker.

So, if you've ever wanted to own 50% of a film (or some portion thereof), a fine Milwaukee filmmaker and his executive producer have got a proposal for you.


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