Legend has it that while lost in the swampy wilderness of Northwest Florida for seven days and nights, Cebe Tate was attacked by gnawing insects, starved, got bitten by a snake and was driven to madness before finding his way out and collapsing to his death near the town of Carrabelle.
But just before he died, a passerby heard him speak a sentence that would solidify his legacy in folklore: “My name is Tate, and I just came through Hell!” That phrase earned the site of Tate’s disappearance and reappearance the title of Tate’s Hell National Forest.
Loosely inspired by this account, the independent film “Tate’s Hell” is being produced in Floyd, Polk and Gordon County this summer. Written and directed by Seth Ingram, director of the Rome International Film Festival, the short film just wrapped production and filmed in the Cedartown, Rome and Ranger areas, and is currently in post production.
“Despite the storyline of the legend of Tate’s ‘Hell’, my film is actually an obscure somewhat comedic take on it,” Ingram says. “It shows how sometimes our own self-perceptions bring on mental and physical anxieties. The film ends up having an unexpectedly dramatic twist.”
Ingram’s film is a concept piece for a feature project and will be submitted to film festivals around the globe later this year.
In addition to some area production team members, Ingram brought many film industry professionals as production department heads to his Northwest Georgia locations to help make the film. Students and others looking to pursue a career in the film industry were offered a chance to work on the film alongside the established industry professionals as a mentoring opportunity.
Ryan Simmons, proprietor of Brand Red Studios based in Rome, served as the Director of Photography on the film.
“Ryan and I great friends and both want to make films here,” says Ingram. “While commercial work sustains the company, the desire to make narrative films is the ultimate goal.”
“One of my goals is to help build a sustainable crew base in the area to work on future projects,” continues Ingram. “I love independent filmmaking and while I would like to see this area develop its own voice, professional crew is needed to achieve this.”
Ingram’s professional experience is already steeped in the film industry through his past work along with connections he’s made through RIFF.
For the past five years, he has served as the RIFF’s director and has also worked as a member of the production team on a number of independent productions. He directed The local history feature Docudrama, “Blind Tiger — The Legend of Belltree Smith” in 2014. Ingram also writes and develops show concepts for television.