The Travis Walton incident is one of best known cases in UFO lore. This can be attributed to the fact that it was first being handled by investigators as a missing persons case, then a possible homicide, and eventually a UFO event. With the case taking on a new light at every turn, this eventually led Travis Walton to write a book about his side of the story and what actually happened in the woods of Snowflake, Arizona on the night of November 5th, 1975. A Hollywood movie, titled, Fire in the Sky, was made on the incident, but lacked accuracy in terms of what actually happened, sacrificing the truth for entertainment. It would be decades later that a new film would change that. This came in the form of a documentary, titled, Travis: The True Story of Travis Walton.
On Saturday, January 16th, I had the opportunity to attend a screening of the documentary, as part of the 2016 Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival. Having viewed the film once before at the 2015 International UFO Congress, where it swept the awards in its categories, I was excited to see this new version that contained new material to help strengthen the accuracy of the case. Upon arriving to the Village East Cinema in Manhattan, I noticed a few familiar faces, including Peter Robbins, noted best selling co-author of the book, Left at East Gate. The book covered the ten year investigation on the controversial 1980 Rendlesham Forest UFO incident. Robbins was an associate producer on the Travis documentary, and was joined by the executive producer and director, Jennifer Stein. The two, along with noted Huffington Post journalist, Lee Speigel, would take part in a panel discussion immediately following the film.
The attendance for the screening was surprising, for the mere fact that this was seemingly a non-fiction documentary being screened at a science-fiction festival. But that didn’t stop members of the UFO community to come support this highly credible case and well produced film. The true surprise was the amount of strangers in the audience. The attendance was so good, that the head of the film festival personally introduced the film and stayed for the entire panel discussion afterwards.
The panel ranged in topics, from the case itself, to the perception of both the UFO and abduction phenomena in the mainstream media. Spiegel, Robbins, and Stein all contributed to the well-informed conversation. But the most exciting contribution was that of Travis Walton himself, who was with us via Skype. Travis answered specific questions from the audience, and thanked us all for seeing what he now considered one of the most well researched and accurate accounts of his experience.
The film brought about much conversation with the audience, even as we all left the East Village Cinema that night. I would eventually interview both Jennifer Stein and Peter Robbins the following morning (LISTEN HERE) about the screening, the case itself, and the aftermath. And as we were finishing up the interview, Stein received word that the film had won Best Documentary of the Festival. This was indeed cause for celebration. But perhaps even more cause for celebration was that a film had been made that put on a compassionate microscope on a man that has been identified strictly on this one extraordinary event in his life. A film that shows that there is more to Travis Walton than this case, and a film that broke the barriers between science fiction and science fact.
To learn more about the film, please visit: www.traviswaltonthemovie.com