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Peter von Puttkamer's Biography

Member Info

May 2011

Peter von Puttkamer is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, with special interest in environmental issues and in American indigenous peoples and cultures.

In 1983, von Puttkamer and his wife formed Gryphon Productions,which has created numerous independent documentaries and programs for television. His 1994 film, Healing of Nations, won "Best Documentary Cat the American Indian Film Festival in the same year, he won awards from the Telluride Film Festival, WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival and the Chicago International Film Festival for Cry of the Forgotten Land.

The company's 2006 documentary The Real Lost World (Discovery Channel/Animal Planet) 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” plateau. Von Puttkamer is the first to connect the legends of indigenous people of the area with the writings of Arthur Conan Doyle—the creation of the “The Lost World” which inspired every movie from King Kong to Godzilla and Jurassic Park. This documentary won "Best of Show" in the Feature Documentary Category at the 2007 Accolade Competition.

In 2008, Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey, aired on The History Channel. 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's discoveries of hallucinogens amongst the indigenous peoples of the Americas inadvertently helped spark the psychedelic era. 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, about the Red Uakari monkey, won awards at both the CINE Competition and the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival.

Other recent productions of note include the series Beyond Invention for Discovery Channel Canada (2003–2004), and the documentary Domus Mactabilis: Real Monster Houses, 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.

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