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Searching for Z: Col. Percy Fawcett: A filmmaker goes in search of the original Indiana Jones
Percy Fawcett.jpg

Chris Doyle/Editor's Note: Last fall, I read and thoroughly enjoyed The Lost City of Z, by David Grann - a gripping tale of the search for Col. Percy Fawcett, deep in the Amazon - an Indiana Jones-like, real world character. Now, Producer/Director Peter von Puttkamer, who's behind a new PBS documentary airing, in the U.S., of the "Secrets of the Dead" on April 20, 2011, follows up where the story left off. He reached out to the ATTA and requested we consider alerting our industry to this upcoming program. And, while this story is a bit off-piste for AdventureTravelNews, I thought, sometimes it's good to grab something warm to drink, sit back, put the planning and operations aside, and take 15 minutes to dig into mysterious side of adventure - this one's worth the read...and watch.  Thanks, Peter! Intriguing!

Peter von Puttkamer, who holds a B.A in Film & TV from the University of British Columbia, has been directing/producing international award-winning films worldwide over the last 28 years.  His production company formed with his producing partner Sheera von Puttkamer- Gryphon Productions Ltd. has created documentaries for Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, History Channel, BBC, Discovery Channel Europe/International/HD, PBS, TLC,  CBC and more. These programs, directed/ produced by Peter, have won more than 75 international awards. Peter von Puttkamer's fascination with indigenous peoples, anthropology, archaeology, mythology, music and wildlife has led to unique and imaginative projects around the world. To read his full bio, click here.  The following is his article, "Searching for Z: Col. Percy Fawcett: A filmmaker goes in search of the original Indiana Jones."

Beginning in the early 1900's, decorated Royal Geographical Society explorer Col. Percy Fawcett ruled supreme as the toughest man in the Amazon.  By the age of 46, he had mapped the borders of Bolivia and western Brazil.  Working in this deadly no man's land,  he fought disease, dangerous animals and befriended fierce Indian tribes.   A war hero and British spy,  his tales of dinosaur tracks in the jungle, giant snakes, fantastic hidden worlds and lost cities inspired books and Hollywood movies that led to Indiana Jones.  Fawcett motivated Arthur Conan Doyle to write his epic fantasy-adventure tale, the Lost World and was the basis for one of its key characters: Lord Roxton.

In 1925, at the age of 58 Fawcett headed into the jungle with his son Jack and Jack's childhood friend Raleigh, to find a mysterious Lost City called Z.  He was funded by the Rockefellers, various museums, Britain's Royal Geographical Society and the North American Newspaper Alliance: which included the Washington Post and LA Times.   It was one of the biggest news stories of the day, and millions followed his exploits.  Then they vanished without a trace.

Percy, Bolivia 1906

Now a new PBS documentary airing on the "Secrets of the Dead" strand on April 20, 2011 sheds new light on his disappearance. "Lost in the Amazon" features modern day explorer Niall McCann searching for clues to  Fawcett's disappearance: from ancient manuscripts found in Rio De Janeiro's library to crossing vast distances in Brazil's Mato Grosso and Amazon to get to the truth.

(Read the rest at Adventure Travel News.)