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Story of Boy Lost on Maine's Mt. Katahdin for Nine Days Inspires Film

16-Jul-2011 Reported By: Tom Porter
One of Maine's most remarkable stories is the subject of a documentary being premiered this weekend at the Maine International Film Festival in Waterville. "Finding Donn Fendler" is co-directed by a Waterville native, 25-year-old Ryan Cook. It tells the story of the 12-year-old boy who, in 1939, went missing for nine days on a family vacation while hiking on Mount Katahdin.




Ryan Cook has been working in the film industry in Boston since graduating from Film School at Emerson college 2 years ago. For the past year, Cook, and fellow Emerson graduate Derek Desmond from New Hampshire, have also been working on their own project: a 60-minute documentary about Cook's child-hood hero, Donn Fendler.

"I've just been fascinated with him and his story. When everybody else looked up to sports and movie stars, I looked up to Donn because that's the type of thing that I'm drawn to," Cook says.

Donn Fendler described his ordeal in a book called Lost on a Maine Mountain. The book had quite an impact on the future film-maker at a very young age.

"I've known Donn's story for a long, long time, from when I first hiked Katahdin with my dad when I was seven years old and he read me the story before we went and hiked it," Cook says.

Fendler was 12-year-old school boy from New York state who went got lost while hiking Mount Katahdin with his family more than 70 years ago.

 
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