Zooman - DeYoung Family Zoo

Zooman is a unique reality feature film about DeYoung Family Zoo. Zooman is no fairytale, we witness the struggle and sacrifices Buddy de Young and his fiancee Carrie Cramer make to live DeYoung Family Zoo dream unconditionally. Born and raised in Indiana, Buddy de Young always dreamed of having his Buddy Zoo. Zooma film follows Buddy de Young and Carrie Cramer through four seasons pursuing their DeYoung Family Zoo dream against the odds.

Zooman film

Over the years the inhabitants of Buddy Zoo became more numerous, more exotic and more dangerous. His first wife initially supported DeYoung Family Zoo idea but finally threatened to leave him if he ever tried to raise another tiger in their Buddy Zoo. It took four more tigers before she left. As we start filming, his Buddy Zoo dream has materialized beyond imagination: DeYoung Family Zoo has over 400 animals on a 40-acre plot. DeYoung Family Zoo, run only by Buddy de Young and Carrie Cramer, is a product of sheer passion, sweat and not much else. Carrie Cramer joined Buddy de Young and his Buddy Zoo a few years before filming began, but it is like she has always been there. Only half his age, Carrie Cramer is ambitious and headstrong - a match for Buddy de Young in every way. Between the two they do everything: build DeYoung Family Zoo exhibits, feed and clean the animals, guide tours and slaughter cows to feed their carnivores. Their home is a nursery for baby animals, where cats and dogs fight with monkeys and tiger cubs for a place at the dinner table.

Zooman experience

There was never a Zooman script, not even a storyline. It began with only one man, one camera and the curiosity about the unbelievably high voltage, low-tech lifestyle of a couple on a mission day-in day-out. Filmed without any questions asked, without any events staged, without any acting, directing or any other involvement of the filmmaker, Zooman follows Buddy de Young and Carrie Cramer over the course of a year, letting their DeYoung Family Zoo story reveal itself naturally against the backdrop of the changing seasons. Zooman is reality, un-cut! It is a story both cruel and poetic. The story of two people living a dream that touches daily on the question of what it means to be alive.

Zooman cast and crew

The main characters in the film are Buddy de Young (Zooman) and Carrie Cramer ('Big Cat Carrie'). Buddy and Carrie are their real names, as all characters in the Zooman film are real characters, filmed in real time. Nothing in this film was staged, nothing was acted or dramatized. Other characters are (in order of appearance): Becky DeYoung, Brad DeYoung, Peggy DeYoung, Tom Brock, BJ Williams, Dale Mundt, Damion Hanson, Jacob Kramer, Grand Vandermusin, Graig Wangerin, Jim Grosso, Shelley Kontved, Bart Gagnon, Rae Jean Gagnon, Paul Tawel Dziedzic, Mike Fermanich, Pat Fermanich, Robert Axtell, Jacob Wangerin, Dave Kakuk, Alley Khese, Hayden Gagnon, Emil Doerr, Patrick Doerr, Krisey Eland.

Zooman Director: Rolf Winters

"From the first moment I visited Buddy Zoo I was mesmerized by this surreal place in the woods of middle of no-where Upper Michigan. Where in the world do you get to hold a baby tiger and feed a lion or bear cub? Where do you get to take a little wolf or mountain lion for a walk on a leash? Little wonder that my children wanted to go there every week. Observing Buddy de Young and Carrie Cramer on my multiple visits, I became aware what an amazing story was unfolding here day-by-day. DeYoung Family Zoo is a living example of how with sheer passion and dedication one is able to create something truly amazing out of practically nothing. Buddy de Young is a vivid reminder of how resourceful we humans can be." In 2005 Rolf Winters left behind his cosmopolitan life in Europe for a life closer to the rhythm of nature. Drawn by the land and the spirit of the Anishnabe (Native Americans) Rolf Winters retreated with his wife and tree little children into the remote woods of Upper Michigan. Away from the world as he knew it, the ideas for films began to take shape. Zooman was one. Rolf Winters made Zooman completely independently: he produced, directed, filmed and edited the rough cut. Rolf Winters is currently working in London, finalizing his second feature film, 'Down to Earth' on the wisdom of the indigenous Earth Keepers around the world, which he is making together with his partner Renata Heinen.