Documentary screening of unique UFO film features Oxford alumni’s work

Published 10:37 am Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Acclaimed documentary filmmaker director Randall Nickerson will bring his groundbreaking film “Ariel Phenomenon” to Oxford Dec. 7 at Malco Oxford Studio at 7 p.m. for a one-night screening.

Associate producers Rebecca Rideout and Ole Miss alumni Percy Townes will coordinate the screening.

“Ariel Phenomenon” claims to be the first to thoroughly document the account of more than 60 school children at Ariel School in Ruwa, Zimbabwe, who, in 1994, witnessed an unidentified craft land outside their rural African schoolyard.

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“I am thrilled to be able to bring this film to an audience in Oxford area,” said Nickerson. “The movie may be about an extraordinary incident at a school in a distant land, but it is much deeper and arguably more profoundly human: How does such an event impact witnesses, their families, the investigatorsand their jobs, not just in the moment but for the rest of their lives?”

For the eyewitness students, investigators and those around them, what began as an investigation into the extraordinary 1994 Ariel School incident transforms into something equally as remarkable: a genuinely human story that explores what happens when you experience something so extraordinary that nobody believes you.

With a sensitive and nonsensational approach to the subject the film highlights the journey of an Ariel School student present at the time of the event as she travels from her home in Toronto, Canada, back to Zimbabwe in search of answers – and the courage to speak the truth.

Along the way, the audience meets Pulitzer Prize-winning psychiatrist Dr. John Mack and respected BBC war correspondent Tim Leach, both forever changed by their investigations and experiences.

As more viewers discover the Ariel School case via the popular “Encounters” series on Netflix, audiences whose curiosity was piqued by the event can learn the full story in this  original film made about the event and its aftermath.

With a cinematic score by Nathaniel Walcott (“Fault in Our Stars,” “Bright Eyes”), and editing and writing by Christopher Seward of “Fahrenheit 911,” “Sicko” and Sundance Grand Jury-winning “One Child Nation,” the film blends stunning wildlife cinematography and a poignant musical score to create a documentary well outside the expected genre.

There is a “Ariel Phenomenon” soundtrack available on all digital platforms, distributed by New York headquartered Sony Music Entertainment’s The Orchard.

For more information regarding tickets and the Soundtrack visit