Westall ’66: A Suburban UFO Mystery?
The largest mass UFO sighting in Australia kept silent for 44 years…until now.
Mass delusion or massive cover-up?
Find out at the Canberra premier screening and discussion panel.
November 7th, 12:00 to 4:00 pm
Following the huge international success of this ground breaking Australian made documentary on Foxtel recently, you are invited to an exclusive premier screening and open discussion in Canberra on Sunday November 7th, 2010.
On 6th of April 1966, in the Melbourne suburb of Westall, hundreds of students, staff and local residents watched as a strange object hovered overhead for several minutes, landed briefly, then lifted off and vanished at great speed.
The incident was reported on television and in local newspapers, yet despite the evidence, the headmaster calls a special assembly to tell the students they hadn’t seen anything at all and they were not to talk about it.
Forty-four years on, Canberra teacher and a parent himself, Shane Ryan turns amateur sleuth and stirs up the past. Motivated by a deep sense of injustice at how the kids were treated, he tracked down former students and staff and searched for the authorities that presided over the day.
“You’re asking me whether a Research & Development establishment would destroy evidence? Yes, of course they would…”
– Lieutenant Colonel Neil Smith, (military historian interviewed in the film).
A contemporary detective story, the film reflects on a fascinating and pivotal period in world history when rivalry between the USA and Russia was played out in a massive arms race, the space race and the Vietnam War.
With its undercurrent of Cold War paranoia, and a burgeoning military relationship between Australia and the US, this story has deep resonance in the current climate of cover-ups and lies delivered by governments in the interests of ‘national security’.
“Like a lot of other people I just shut up about it because of the ridicule, and it was everybody – you know – you were a kid, you were making it up. So you’d just be quiet and in your mind, you just think, I know what I saw, and no one’s ever going to shake me from that. I know what I saw!”
– Jeff Holland, (former student and UFO eyewitness).
About the Film.
The visual challenge was how to represent something that was officially invisible. Working with an experienced animator and using a multi-layered sound-scape, the resulting film is a rich mix of dramatic eyewitness accounts, evocative animation, atmospheric archival footage and stylish motion graphics that tells a compelling story.
About the Canberra event.
Running on November 7th from 12:00 to 4:00 pm, this eye opening event features a screening of the much talked about documentary followed by discussion and Q & A with a panel of the professionals behind this much talked about documentary, including:
- The award winning film writer, editor and director, Rosie Jones.
- The former (Canberra based) teacher and persistent investigator who narrates the film, Shane Ryan.
- World respected guest speaker (featured in the documentary), Australian UFO investigator Bill Chalker (with a scientific background) will give a big picture overview putting the Westall incident in a wider national and global perspective.
- As well as hearing several (now adult) witnesses to the actual incident over 40 years ago, including Joy Clarke, Terry Peck and Sue Savage.
An invitation to educators and media students.
Distributed by Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM) and with a downloadable comprehensive Study Guide also available, this artistic film is a fascinating look at a buried piece of Australia’s past – the largest mass UFO sighting in the country. The Study Guide offers tasks and topics for discussion on a range of topics.
This excellent case study provides an ideal opportunity for students to explore historical method, learn about research and film making skills, constructing narrative and the nature of documentary, examine ideas around memory and group hysteria, and look at international relations and national identity during the Cold War.
Event details: www.flightoffire.com.au
(Prepaid price: $30/$35. Door price: $40/$45. Please call for special rate of $15 for student/teacher groups of 10+ people.)
A downloadable press kit and study guide is available from: