Camden author Tess Gerritsen’s documentary film on pigs, made in collaboration with her son, is making its TV debut this month.

“Magnificent Beast” is scheduled to air Feb. 24 at 10 p.m. on the TV stations of Maine Public and can also be viewed online at The film began airing in early February on public television stations around the country. It was also shown at several film festivals last year.

“Magnificent Beast” is about the long and storied relationship between pigs and humans, which Gerritsen made with her filmmaker/photographer son, Josh Gerritsen. Gerritsen’s work on the film included research, on-camera interviews and narration. She’s seen on camera talking to anthropologists, scientists, pig hunters, farmers and pig owners.

Josh Gerritsen was the film’s cinematographer and editor. The pair co-produced and co-directed the film and traveled around the world over a period of several years while making it.

“We’re really curious to see what people think of it,” said Gerritsen on Friday.

To air on TV, the film had to be cut from 75 minutes to about 60 minutes, Josh Gerritsen said. But the full version can be streamed on the film’s website for $4.99.


Tess Gerritsen has written 30 novels, including multiple best-sellers and a mystery series that inspired the long-running TV show “Rizzoli & Isles.” She got the idea to do a film about pigs a few years ago while doing a book tour in Turkey. She had a hankering for bacon while on tour, but found it was scarce because of the Muslim taboo on eating pork.

She thought about writing a book about various taboos against eating all different animals – horses, dogs, pigs. But her son, a professional photographer and filmmaker who lives in nearby Lincolnville and has raised pigs on his farm, thought a film specifically about pigs would resonate with people. The English language and American culture uses pigs as a negative image, Gerritsen said, to denote someone dirty or disgusting in some way.

“We realized that the story got down to the character of the pig itself. What is it about pigs that put us in conflict with them?” Gerritsen told the Press Herald in July 2021. “So we explored this shared history we have with pigs.”

The Gerritsens also collaborated in 2016 on an indie horror film made in the midcoast region called “Island Zero.”

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