AUGUST 2017 – The filmmaker who is developing a documentary about the extraordinary events at the Ariel School has released a statement that we’d like to share:
|Randy Nickerson, Filmmaker, String Theory Films
Now with seeing somewhat the light of day on this extensive project, it brings me back to the beginning when I first received the BetaCam footage from the Dr John Mack family members. After seeing this footage, I could understand what Mack saw in the testimony of these children and the events around the Ariel School sightings. That was in 2007. This film was supposed to be just a DVD project with John Mack’s material for online sales but I had so many questions that his interviews did not answer. That began the quest to find the school in 2008. I was told it had burnt down, that it no longer existed, and then I found the name of the reporter who helped out John Mack in 1994. She informed me the school was still there and so were some of the original teachers. I booked the flight to South Africa within days. Landed in Johannesburg, South Africa and was shuttled to where I was staying. There was an armed guard with an M4 in front of the 12 foot wall that surrounded the building. I was definitely not in Kansas anymore. Went into Zimbabwe a week later with a reporter with warnings from our US State Department not to do so. Zimbabwe was in civil unrest due to the elections and the dictatorships actions against its own people. People were starving. It left an impression on me that changed me fundamentally. To be in Zimbabwe covering a story and there being another big story happening at the same time, was overwhelming. I stayed in a shack about 7 miles from the Ariel school with no electricity, no hot water. I had to charge batteries and do everything from generator power when it was running. It was a humbling and I had to buck up and face the music in ways that I was not prepared for.
Seeing the school for the first time was a moment I will never forget and meeting the teachers and those that were there in 1994 was fascinating. The school and the Head Mistress were so gracious and accommodating given the circumstances that they were under.
The Headmistress shared with me photos, drawings, and the story of the 1994 incident.
My question was “Do you really believe it happened?” Her and the 2 other teachers I spoke with and interviewed were convinced that it did. I walked the playground for days and the site where the witnesses said this silver disc was. I met with parents of the some of the children and people from Ruwa that also witnessed unusual things in the sky the day before. A paramedic who met with some of the children who were traumatized after the event. It became more and more apparent that there was an incredible story here.
I noticed on a tiled brick wall and on the walkway were the names of the children that attended Ariel School in 1994. That was the moment when I said to myself, I can find them. I didn’t know how but I was determined to do it. A woman in Johannesburg helped me set up a Facebook page. It was the advent of Facebook and social media that made it possible to find these now adult kids.
It was in 2008 that I interviewed the first witness who was in grade 7 in 1994.It began a long journey of tracking people down.It was not my intention to be an investigative reporter but that is what I had to become in order to tell this story. Locating the BBC reporter who was first on scene was a big moment. I had been looking for him for years and when I heard from him, out of the blue, I flew to England to interview him. He had kept everything from covering that event in 94. Every piece of video and even his paper scratch notes, I found other reporters and investigators had done the same thing. Whatever happened there was important enough for people to make a special place in their homes to save everything from that time.
I would find that these children were scattered all across the globe now due to the situation in Zimbabwe.
Funds were an issue and the credits will be filled with so many people who helped me. Getting to these kids was difficult. It took time, lots of effort and I was learning how to make a feature documentary all at the same time. It was gorilla film making at its core.
I had made several short films with the longest being 18 minutes but a feature documentary was an entirely different animal. The further I went and the more I found out about this story, the more I was convinced that this had to be a done properly no matter what.
There is so much more to this story, John Mack’s story, and the whole issue of life outside this planet. As I get closer to the end of this film I can finally start to talk about the journey and all the things I have kept close to the chest for so long. I look forward to that time and it is near. Thank God! It is indeed time to tell the story and bring the facts around this event to screen.