Strange and wonderful activity is afoot in the Puget Sound area thanks to the short film The Maury Island Incident. The project was one of several that Washington Filmworks (WF) committed funding assistance to through the Filmworks Innovation Lab and the first to be completed. For the second year in a row Burien, Washington will host the Burien UFO Festival (aka BUFO) on April Fools Day. This festival is inspired by the film.

Last year’s BUFO received some great coverage from KOMO News and the 2014 BUFO is shaping up to be an even bigger fete. The film is not yet publicly available, but the compelling story is generating all kinds of activity. Learn more in this release from the filmmakers.



SEATTLE, WA – The Maury Island Incident, a short film completed with the support of the Filmworks Innovation Lab, is generating buzz and economic impact even before its film festival premiere.

The thirty minute narrative film chronicles a 1947 alleged UFO sighting over Puget Sound, the active involvement of the FBI, and the first alleged historic appearance of the so-called “Men in Black.” The film has already spawned a new UFO festival in Burien, Washington (“BUFO’s” second annual festival will be April 1, 2014); the creation of “The Maury Island Incident Historical Society;” the proposal for placement of historical markers at the city of Des Moines Marina; a new book on the subject published last month by the film’s credited research consultants, Charlette LeFevre and Philip Lipson; a web-series based upon the short film content; historical society presentations; and numerous discussions between the filmmakers and city and hotel and motel officials centered upon film-based tourism opportunities.

“We’re stunned at the level of interest even before our film has seen a festival premiere,” said director Scott Schaefer. “We anticipated that a strong science fiction, UFO, and conspiracy audience would be drawn to the material, but we were not sure how strongly the local communities would respond. It turns out that our story – with its roots in the so-called ‘Summer of the Saucers’ in 1947, and spectacular locations on Puget Sound off Vashon-Maury Island, Des Moines, Burien, and Tacoma – has been of tremendous fascination to the region.  Even though we can’t show the film before our festival premiere, we’ve repeatedly filled theaters and auditoriums with community members who don’t think of themselves as UFO buffs, but are simply fascinated with the history and our process in telling the story.”

The filmmakers suspect much more attention is on the way. According to screenwriter Steve Edmiston, any “news” about the project seems to go viral. “KOMO News 4 did a great story last year, before we shot a frame of film, and it’s received over 1.5 million views on YouTube.  We’ve learned there is a hungry, global audience for UFO and conspiracy on the Internet – and they’re never satiated.” Regionally, Edmiston is most excited about the economic potential this “local history” seems to possess.  “I’ve spoken with city officials and economic development directors, hotel and motel representatives, tourism bureaus, restaurant owners, historical societies, and tourism industry vendors – there is great interest because this type of film-based storytelling draws tourists to the region who are seeking to immerse themselves – even for a day – in the sights, sounds, and story behind the mystery.”

At this year’s Burien UFO (“BUFO”) Festival, the filmmakers will not publicly show the film (as they await their festival premiere). They are, however, planning a final “audience test” consisting of a webisode premiere, scenes from the film, and stories. The catch – admission is exclusively for attendees participating in the festival’s attempt to set the world record for most people costumed as Men (or Women) in Black and as aliens. Said Schaefer, “We care deeply about how people that are willing to costume themselves as part of a desire to share an experience will respond to the material, and this ‘test’ is important to us. Of course, the value of a photo shoot opportunity with a movie theater full of Men in Black is a great bonus!”

Let the fun (and tourism) begin.


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