Lions of the East: An update

Those of you following my work will be aware that for the past few months I’ve been working on a documentary titled Lions of the East. In summary, Lions of the East will be a feature length documentary dealing with the topic of mountain lions and mystery big cats and their alleged presence in New England.

One of the two orphaned cougars seen at the Squam Lakes Science Center, Holderness, New Hampshire.

I remember hearing stories of people seeing mountain lions in New England, even when I was an armchair cryptozoology enthusiast and well before I began producing my own documentaries on the subject. I knew this topic was broad, but didn’t realize how broad it truly was. I’ve had easily over 40 sightings reported to me either in person or via email, social media and online just since announcing the project back in October.

I’ve met some great folks so far and it’s taken me down some interesting paths, some of which I had no idea I’d be heading down. Since I began principal photography in October I’ve amassed some great interviews with more to come. Here is the current list as of February 15th.

  • Iain MacLeod: Executive Director of the Squam Lakes Science Center in New Hampshire, a center with two orphaned mountain lions in captivity.
  • Linda McCracken: New Hampshire mountain lion researcher with an archive of 3,000 New Hampshire sightings since the 1930’s.
  • Patrick Tate: New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Furbearer biologist. Patrick looks into mountain lion sightings reported to the state.
  • Paul Eno: Longtime journalist, author and paranormal researcher, involved in the “Mansfield Mystery cat” case in Mansfield, Massachusetts during the 1990’s.
  • Dr. Rick Van De Poll: New Hampshire based biologist who discovered verified, lab tested mountain lion DNA in New Hampshire in the early 2000’s.
  • Joe Gardner: Vermont mountain lion researcher using camera traps and baiting techniques in an attempt to capture photos or video of mountain lions in the green mountain state.
  • George Scribner: Vermont Game Warden working for the State of Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. George has looked into sightings of mountain lions reported to the state.
  • Laurie Fountain: Vermont resident who had a very good visual encounter with what she believed to be a mountain lion, characterized by it’s large stature and long tail.
  • John Harrigan: Longtime journalist and mountain lion chronicler. John has cataloged countless mountain lion sightings across New Hampshire over the years, particularly in the northern part of the state.
  • Officer Chris Gilloren: Chris is an officer with the Seymour Connecticut Police Department and had a visual sighting of a mountain lion crossing a road days before one was struck and killed on a road in Milford, Connecticut. This particular cat is the only widely recognized confirmed case of a mountain lion in New England, so it carries some weight in this subject.

A few of the interview setups and an outdoor production shot.

I’ve got a few more interviews planned, along with lots of b-roll and supplemental filming to do, including an interview and segment in Vermont with legendary author and “Bard of the Bizarre” Joseph Citro. I plan on having the talented historian and narrator John Horrigan narrate the film. This project has been quite interesting thus far and I can’t wait to see where else the journey takes me. Expect more updates in the coming months, as I’m tentatively shooting for a release date this summer.

Check out the first teaser trailer above.

1 thought on “Lions of the East: An update”

  1. Dear Mr. Petakov:
    I had written you back on June 24, 2019 regarding your research and documentary. We were at the Squam Lakes Science Center Thursday, spending some time at the Mountain lion exhibit. That sparked my reason for writing this message. How is your research and documentary progressing? I spoke with several people viewing the exhibit, mentioning your work and pending documentary. Those persons seemed quite excited by you work. Otherwise, I hope things are moving along.
    Regards,
    John Franz
    Wright Tavern Farm
    Dorchester, NH

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