Peter Von Puttkamer
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Peter Von Puttkamer

Baron Peter Von Puttkamer (born April 8, 1962) is a Canadian filmmaker known for his unique approach to adventure documentary series for network television,[1][2] and for his work with Indigenous communities in his country and around the world.[3][4][5] He has won major international awards for his work as a writer, director and producer, and was recently nominated for the 2015 Environmental Media Awards for his Nat Geo series, Biggest & Baddest, which he directed and co-produced with his wife and business partner, Sheera Von Puttkamer.[6][7][8][9][10][11] For over thirty years, the couple has run Gryphon Productions and has a catalog that includes hundreds of finished films and videos, many that have appeared on television and cable networks globally and continue to be used in classrooms and outreach centers as educational and advocacy videos.[12][13][14][15][16][16][17]

Peter is an occasional media personality who has appeared on many high-profile news programs and talk shows, including popular appearances on Coast To Coast AM with Art Bell and most recently in 2017 with George Noory;[18][19] and he and his work have been featured in magazines around the world from American Cinematographer, Moviemaker and Discover Magazine.[20][21]

Early life and education

Peter was born in Bonn, Germany. His parents, Baron Jesco Gunther Heinrich von Puttkamer[22] and Delia von Puttkamer emigrated to Canada where they settled and raised Peter and his sister Carina. Von Puttkamer's father created a resort named Paradise Valley. Paradise Valley resort, which once hosted a music festival that included artists like Joni Mitchell, Chicago, Taj Mahal and The Grateful Dead,[23][24] employed local native people, which gave Peter a chance to get to know their cultures in a unique and personal way and encouraged him to use his talent as a filmmaker to not only document their lives, but also help improve their conditions. He is a grandson of the writer Gertrud von Puttkamer.

Peter's half-brother, Jesco Von Puttkamer, a consultant to Gene Roddenberry and a technical advisor for Paramount Pictures Star Trek: the Motion Picture, was an employee of NASA and a Russia expert for the International Space Station.[25][26] Jesco also received NASA's Exceptional Service Medal, the highest civilian order for outstanding services by a U.S. government agency.[27][28]

Peter attended the University of British Columbia where he studied English Honours and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film and Television. It was there he met his wife Sheera.[1]

Early work

In 1983, Von Puttkamer and his wife formed Gryphon Productions, which has created numerous independent documentaries and programs for television.[29][30] Their first network documentary was called Spirit of the Mask and it aired in 1992 on Can West Global.[31][32][33][34] The film explored the native mask cultures of the Pacific Northwest and was hosted and narrated by noted anthropologist Wade Davis.[35] Before Spirit was released, Peter produced a series of educational videos, short form documentaries and advocacy films for and about native communities. Projects included "Journey to Strength"[36]"In the Heart of the Cedar" 1982; "A Caravan For Youth" 1983; "The Honor of All: The Story of Alkali Lake" 1985.[37][38][39][40]

In 1987- von Puttkamer was Director of Photography and Editor on "Walking with Grandfather" a 6 part Live Action/Animated PBS children's series based on Native American legends.[41] In 1989-91, he wrote/produced/directed "The Spirit of the Mask"; in 1991 he also wrote/produced/directed the award-winning AIDS drama for Native Americans- "A Chance for Change", featuring well-known First Nations actors-Evan Adams, Margo Kane and Michelle Thrush.[42]

In 1992, he produced the multi-award-winning AIDS documentary- "Kecia Words to Live By". The film has been used extensively by native communities and government organizations such as Health Canada and US Indian Health Services.[43][44]

In 1994 a film he directed and co-produced with George Amiotte, a Lakota cultural leader and actor, Healing of Nations,[45] won Best Documentary at the American Indian Film Festival. That same year he won the Silver Plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival for Cry of the Forgotten land. The film focused on the Moi people of Irian Jaya.[46]

Recent projects

Peter Von Puttkamer wrote, produced and directed the 1999 film Sasquatch Odyssey: The Hunt for Bigfoot [47][48][49] which aired on The Learning Channel in the United States and Space TV in Canada, played the International Documentary Association's festival and the New York International Independent Film Festival.

In 2000 he wrote, produced and directed Monster Hunters which aired on TLC in 2002[50] and was a six part series about groups of cryptozoologists hunting Cryptids worldwide: like Chupacabras, Yowie, Cadborosaurus and more.

His series Beyond Invention was an eight part series for Discovery Channel Canada and it aired on Discovery US's Science Channel.[51][52][53]

Gryphon Productions 2005 documentary The Real Lost World, which aired on the Discovery Channel HD Theater and Animal Planet in 2006.,[54][55] followed the search for Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost World in Venezuela. The expedition resulted in the discovery of a new type of microbial life growing on the walls of caves at the top of the 9000' "Lost World" Roraima plateau.[56][56][57]

In 2008, Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey, aired on The History Channel.[58][59][60] The program was co-written and hosted by National Geographic Explorer in Residence Wade Davis who describes the life of famed Harvard plant-explorer Richard Evans Schultes. Shot in the Amazon and several other countries, the program reveals how Schultes' discoveries of hallucinogens amongst the indigenous peoples of the Americas inadvertently helped spark the psychedelic era.[61][62] This documentary won awards from both the CINE Competition and the Columbus International Film & Video Festival.

Puttkamer's 2009 documentary Uakari: Secrets of the English Monkey,[63] about the red uakari monkey, aired on the CBC, Animal Planet and the BBC.[64]

Peter's documentary Domus Mactabilis: Real Monster Houses[65] which looked at spirit-possessed homes and the families who live in them--this documentary was produced to go along with the Steven Spielberg/Robert Zemeckis production Monster House.

Von Puttkamer's film "Lost in the Amazon: The Enigma of Col Percy Fawcett" premiered on April 20, 2011 on PBS was narrated by Liev Schreiber.[66][67]

Current series include the award-winning "Biggest & Baddest" (2011-2015) seen on Animal Planet Canada, Discovery UK/International and on National Geographic Wild in the US;[68][69][70] and the 2017 series "Killing Bigfoot"that airs on Destination America & T+E CANADA[71][72][73]

Peter and his wife Sheera Von Puttkamer's film "Mountain Gorilla's" premiered at the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in 2016 and won an award in the endangered species category. [74]

Selected filmography

  • The Spirit of the Mask (1992)
  • Healing of Nations (1994)
  • Tomorrow's Hope: The Body - Inside Stories (1998)
  • Sasquatch Odyssey: The Hunt for Bigfoot (1999)
  • Joe Cocker: The Soul Experience (2001) - featuring Joe Cocker
  • Champions of the Wild (2002)
  • Spidermania (2002)
  • Monster Hunters (2002)
  • Beyond Invention (2004)
  • The Real Lost World (2006)
  • Uakari: Secrets of the (Red) English Monkey (2009)
  • Lost In The Amazon: Col. Percy Fawcett (2011)
  • Biggest & Baddest (2012)
  • Killing Bigfoot (2016)


  1. ^ a b "Lost in the Amazon Production Biographies".
  2. ^ "Searching for Z: Col. Percy Fawcett: A filmmaker goes in search of the original Indiana Jones".
  3. ^ "In search of monsters (Peter von Puttkamer)". Archived from the original on 2017-09-08.
  4. ^ "Peter von Puttkamer's Psychedelic Odyssey".
  5. ^ "Native American Film Festival at Southwest".
  6. ^ "Mountain gorillas & Tree lions: experiencing nature's biggest and baddest with Gryphon Productions".
  7. ^ "'Mad Max: Fury Road,' 'Interstellar,' 'Virunga' Among Environmental Media Awards Nominees".
  8. ^ "Biggest and Baddest: "Tigers" nominated for 2015 Environmental Media Awards Los Angeles".
  9. ^ "EMA Weekly Forecast EMA Awards Nominees announced...".
  10. ^ "Destination America preps "Killing Bigfoot"".
  11. ^ "The Real Lost World".
  12. ^ "Return of the river".
  13. ^ "Showing all editions for 'A Mother's choice'".
  14. ^ "The Real Lost World comes to life".
  15. ^ "Nat Geo WILD Acquires New Series Biggest & Baddest: Explorer and Biologist Niall McCann Tracks Down Jaw-Dropping Wildlife".
  16. ^ a b "Take That, Indiana Jones! Niall McCann is the Ultimate Wildlife Warrior".
  17. ^ "Crossing the Bridge: WestDoc Stages Reality/Doc Summit".
  18. ^ "2017 Predictions/ Capturing Bigfoot".
  19. ^ "Peter von Puttkamer".
  20. ^ "High Adventure in The Real Lost World".
  21. ^ "Can We Talk Film Equipment... Specifically Cameras?".
  22. ^ "Heinrich Frhr. von Puttkamer".
  23. ^ "Paradise Valley Resort August 24, 1969".
  24. ^ "1969.08 Vancouver Pop Festival -- Paradise Valley Resort Squamish, BC".
  25. ^ "Huntsville Space Enthusiasts Will Miss Jesco von Puttkamer" (PDF).
  26. ^ "Obituary: Jesco von Puttkamer".
  27. ^ "NASA's Jesco von Puttkamer Has Died".
  28. ^ "Jesco von Puttkamer: 1933-2012".
  29. ^ "Watch Gryphon Productions Video".
  30. ^ "Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival" (PDF).
  31. ^ "Native American Film Festival at Southwest".
  32. ^ "The Hunt for Bigfoot AND Other Monsters".
  33. ^ "Indigenous Peoples of Northe and Central America".
  34. ^ "The Spirit of the Mask".
  35. ^ "The Spirit of the Mask- Sacred Native American Ceremonies".
  36. ^ "Journey to strength : a native celebration".
  37. ^ "1986, English, Video edition".
  38. ^ "Chief Leonard George".
  39. ^ "Honour of All, The on DVD".
  40. ^ "North Island Alcohol/Drug Information & Education Society".
  41. ^ "Walking With Grandfather".
  42. ^ "Killing us Quietly".
  43. ^ "A Change of View".
  44. ^ "Kecia [videorecording] : words to live by".
  45. ^ "George Amiotte - Medicine Man".
  46. ^ "Cry of the Forgotten Land".
  47. ^ "Sasquatch Odyssey: The Hunt For Bigfoot".
  48. ^ "Sasquatch Odyssey: The Hunt For Bigfoot".
  49. ^ "You're Getting Warmer..."
  50. ^ "Monster Hunters DVD".
  51. ^ "beyond invention airing again".
  52. ^ "Beyond Invention: An 8 Part Series That's Stranger Than Science" (PDF).
  53. ^ "Beyond Invention: Stargate discovers Atlantis at Bridge Studios".
  54. ^ "Real Lost World".
  55. ^ "The Real Lost World".
  56. ^ a b "Monte Roraima and Canaima National Parks - Brazil/Venezuela".
  57. ^ "Discovering The Lost World Mount Roraima In South America Border of Brazil, Venezuela, And Guyana".
  58. ^ "Monte Roraima and Canaima National Parks - Brazil/Venezuela".
  59. ^ "Bob Weir in new History Channel Documentary: Peyote to LSD- A Psychedelic Odyssey- April 19, 2008".
  60. ^ "Review: 'Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey'".
  61. ^ "Richard E. Schultes, 86, Dies; Trailblazing Authority on Hallucinogenic Plants".
  63. ^ "Uakari - Secrets of the English Monkey".
  64. ^ "Uakari: Secrets of the English Monkey".
  65. ^ "Five family films for Halloween".
  66. ^ "Lost in the Amazon: The Enigma of Col. Percy".
  67. ^ "Lost in the Amazon".
  68. ^ "Venom Jungle".
  69. ^ "Biggest and Baddest".
  70. ^ "Niall McCann's 'Biggest And Baddest' Series Follows Rare And Threatened Wildlife (VIDEO)".
  71. ^ "Review 'Killing Bigfoot': Sad days for poor Sasquatch".
  72. ^ "'Some of them are plain mean': Inside the armed Sasquatch hunting group roaming the country 'protecting' residents from BIGFOOT (just don't ask why they haven't caught one yet)".
  73. ^ "Killing Bigfoot on Destination America".
  74. ^ Rome, Carly. "Mountain gorillas & Tree lions: experiencing nature's biggest and baddest with Gryphon Productions".

External links

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