Westall '66: A Suburban UFO Mystery, directed and edited by Rosie Jones, is a riveting and unique look at what happened in the Westall suburb of Melbourne in 1966. Westall High School was the center of the biggest mass UFO sighting in Australia, yet the event was deliberately suppressed. Jones and her team try to find out why.
At the mention of UFO's, you may be bracing yourself for a film peppered with tin-hat wearing conspiracy theorists, but you may have to revise your opinion.
Candid eyewitness accounts reveal active, attentive people who have lived with a memory that brought them ridicule, and censure, but the stories they tell and the pictures they draw show that they have not forgotten what happened.
As the film progresses, a variety of techniques maintain the delicate and deliberate balance of fact and opinion. Jones marries the austerity and somberness of statistics, recordings, and interviews with playful sketches, poignant clips, and animated narration. This approach underscores a commitment to present an objective, transparent film that is visually diverse.
Jones' commitment to neutrality has a similar effect on the participants and overall tenor of the film. Consequently, we hear students, laborers, community members, researchers, and others talk about what occurred on that fateful April day, and the curious happenings that followed.
They all report seeing something above the paddock that did not look like anything they had ever seen. Some saw it land; some saw it fly away. However, they were all told by school authorities, or police, or other officials in uniform to keep quiet. Many of them were punished and ridiculed if they tried to talk about it, and so they kept silent. Still, they remember what they saw, and thus, the mystery persists.
In the end, Jones successfully delivers a film that may fascinate you, intrigue you, or simply encourage you to keep listening.