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'The Maury Island Incident' comes to Vashon Theater
Fresh off several international film festival premiers, filmmakers Scott Schaefer and Steve Edmiston will bring their award-winning independent short film “The Maury Island Incident” back to Vashon on Tuesday, Aug. 12. The film will be shown as a fundraiser for the Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association
“We’re coming back with the full film, and we’ll be more than happy to share our secrets this time,” Edmiston said with a nod to their April visit, where only parts of the film were shown due to constraints imposed by film festival regulations.
The film had its world premiere at the Big Island Film Festival’s seemingly tailor-made, under-the-stars opening in Kona, Hawaii, on May 22 and its North American premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) on May 25.
“It worked out really well. SIFF was happy,” Edmiston explained. “Even though Hawaii is a state, it’s considered to be part of Oceania, not North America. So SIFF was able to host the official North American premiere, and that’s what they had wanted.”
Based on information gleaned from declassified FBI documents, the film’s story of an alleged UFO sighting off Maury Island in June of 1947 offers viewers a piece of largely forgotten local history. There’s also enough mystery to throw a widely held historical convention into question. Although the Maury Island events were reported and investigated first, pilot Kenneth Arnold’s sighting over the Cascade mountains and the widely publicized alleged UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico, are often referred to as the beginning of the UFO era that gripped the country in the 1950s and ‘60s.
Whether salvager Harold Dahl’s story of strange discs hovering off the coast of Maury Island and raining burning metal slag onto his boat is true or not doesn’t matter to Schaefer and Edmiston. Their focus is on the story itself, its local and historical significance and its potential for further development.
“We just want to tell this story,” Edmiston said. “It’s truly fascinating.”
And growing, according to Edmiston. As the film is garnering more attention, more people are coming forward with their own recollections of the events surrounding the incident.
“We’re hoping that people continue to feel comfortable approaching us. The more information we collect, the closer we are to something bigger,” he said.
The wheels of that “something bigger” are already in motion as the online, independent film streaming service IndieFlix is set to launch “The Maury Island Incident” webisodes as their first original series on Aug. 19. Add to that screenings at the Port Townsend, Tacoma and Burbank, California film festivals this fall, and Schaefer and Edmiston appear to be well on their way to putting “The Maury Island Incident” on the map and into the history books.
“There is so much of this story that we couldn’t fit into this short film,” Edmiston said. “This is just the beginning.”
Edmiston and Schaefer will host a screening of “The Maury Island Incident” 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12 at the Vashon Theatre. Admission is by a $10 suggested donation, with all proceeds going to benefit the Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association.