2011 Byron Bay Film Festival : Westall ’66


SCREENING DETAILS – 1.45pm Saturday, 5 March 2011

With the 2011 Byron Bay Film Festival drawing nearer, Westall ’66 stands out as one
of the most intriguing Australian documentaries ever screened. In 1966, hundreds of
residents in the quiet Melbourne suburb of Westall were shaken by a close encounter
with a UFO as it hovered for several minutes, landed on a school oval, then took off
and vanished with incredible speed. This event was abruptly followed by an even closer
encounter with intimidating authorities determined to keep this astounding incident
top secret. With the world in the midst of Cold War paranoia, the film Westall ’66 is
an account of a momentous day that was subsequently buried beneath a cloud of
inconceivable cover-ups and lies – all in the name of national security.

In this contemporary detective story, tenacious amateur sleuth, Shane Ryan, goes back
to Westall with the intention of speaking with witnesses silenced by government officials
over forty years ago. What he discovers are many perplexed, anxious people who still feel
the ridicule that suppressed their desire to publically share their life-altering observations
of a low flying, silver-grey and shiny object that was accompanied by five light aircraft on
that day. Their frustration and anger is justified as Ryan eventually discovers that top-level
scientists have been secretly active in UFO research for many years.

Following three years of solid research, filming and editing, director Rosie Jones declares
that Westall ’66:

“…uncovers new evidence about the sightings whilst confronting the big questions
about truth, trust, belief and responsibility. What are the effects on children when
adults refuse to listen to them, or tell them that what they saw didn’t exist? What
are the ripple-down effects on society when those in authority lie?”

When numerous government departments deny the filmmakers access to relevant
information, and as they discover that whole boxes of official files are missing, lost or
unaccounted for, this documentary demonstrates the fact that public deception at a
government level is still alive and well in the 21st century.

The filmmakers will be attending the screening of Westall ’66 at the 2011 Byron
Bay Film Festival on Saturday the 5th of March. For all information regarding the
independent films set to be screened, the festival location, The Red Carpet Gala Opening
and Closing Night Parties, the many free events available, various accommodation options
plus ticket bookings, go to: www.bbff.com.au