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‘UFOs & Men in Black Arrive in Puget Sound’ – Washington Filmworks

Washington Filmworks – which awarded “The Maury Island Incident” one of five Innovation Lab Awards – recently posted a story about our film, which is currently in post-production.

Read their full story here:

PHOTOS: Behind-the-scenes look at the making of ‘The Maury Island Incident’

Photo by Michael Brunk /

Story by Scott Schaefer
Photos by Michael Brunk

If you happened upon a bunch of people furiously moving camera gear, lights, stands, cables and other filmmaking equipment in the area last weekend, you may have witnessed the filming of “The Maury Island Incident,” a locally-produced movie that was shot in Burien, Des Moines, Tukwila and on the waters off Maury Island.

The short film is based on the true story – taken directly from declassified FBI documents – of Harold Dahl’s June 21, 1947 UFO sighting near Maury Island and the first reported ‘Man In Black’ encounter that happened the next day. An investigation followed that resulted in a mysterious crash of a B-25 carrying “slag” evidence from the encounter, which killed Capt. William Davidson and Lt. Frank Brown (this film will be dedicated to them). This case went all the way up to FBI Executive Director J. Edgar Hoover, who expressed personal interest in it.

Written/Produced by Steve Edmiston (The Day My Parents Became Cool, Crimes of the Past and others), and Directed/Produced by Scott Schaefer (Bill Nye the Science Guy, The Arsenio Hall Show, Almost Live! and many others), production took place at a home in Tukwila, in boats off Maury Island, at the Tin Room Bar in Burien and at the Landmark Event Center in Des Moines between Friday, June 28 and Monday, July 1.

The main management team also includes Executive Producer John White, along with Laura Beth and Scott Peterson (SAFE Boats) and Danny House, owner of the Tin Room Bar/Theater.

A crew of 31 or so – recruited and assembled by Line Producer Elizabeth Heile – along with an excellent, all-local group of actors put together by Casting Director Stephen Salamunovich, “The Maury Island Incident” is slated to be completed sometime this fall. The film – which won an “Innovation Lab” award from Washington Filmworks in June – will then be submitted to various festivals, turned into online webisodes, and if all goes well, perhaps made into a feature-length film or TV series (email to learn on how you can help us do that…).

The idea to make a film started on June 21, 2012, when Steve Edmiston threw an outdoor party to commemorate the anniversary date of the Maury Island Incident near his home in Des Moines. I attended, and having known of the incident from my days as a Director on a UFO TV show called “Sightings,” I asked (or perhaps told) Edmiston if/that he wanted to make a movie about it. Over several months of talking, we finally put together a treatment and floated the idea on his blogs. Then, on Dec. 5, 2012, we held a pitch/fundraiser meeting at the Tin Theater. Afterwards Danny House introduced us to John White, who loved the story idea so much that he decided to help us make the movie.

In order to actually make a movie, you need to build a team. “Find the best people available, hire them and let them do their jobs,” was the common statement made by numerous Directors I studied. I personally recruited Boydstun, Steve recruited Elizabeth, she recruited a production team, and so on and so on…until we had a real, full, professional crew excited to make a great movie!

One of the most important things we did was hire Casting Director Stephen Salamunovich, who auditioned over 80 of the best Actors and Actresses in the northwest, gave recommendations and helped us put together an amazing cast. Each Actor brought his or her own skills to the shoot, and we encouraged collaboration. Most studied the story, asked questions and provided new insights we hadn’t thought of. What a pleasure to work with such pros, who consistently amazed the entire crew with their acting abilities, not to mention patience and ability to memorize, start and stop on cue and always give us great takes (and outtakes too!).

If you’ve ever worked on a movie set before, you know just how busy and crazy things can get, with crew members each doing their jobs like efficient worker ants, always striving to get things ready for the next shot as soon as possible. A Director (me, in my first attempt at shooting a film despite 28+ years’ of directing/writing TV) working with actors, as well as with a Director of Photography (Mike Boydstun, who I’ve known since we both worked on “Almost Live!” at KING-TV), discussing each shot and preparing, all the while managed by an Assistant Director (Laura Jean Cronin) who’s making sure things are running on time, that equipment is set and ready, then at the right moment shouting “QUIET! Roll audio! Roll camera!” allowing me to say “And…ACTION!” (TIP: including “And…” is vital as it prepares everyone for the “Action!” part) and for us all to shut the heck up and get the shot.

Then…doing another take “just for insurance” or perhaps “holding for sound” when airplanes (or buses, loud cars, people, etc.) went by, or a dozen other reasons why we want to try it again…all as our A.D. is asking if we’re ready to move on yet…whew! This was the most intense production experience I’ve had since 1992 when I had the opportunity to direct Arsenio Hall in a comedy sketch on the New York street backlot at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood (Mr. Hall would only do one take, and was accompanied by a large, burly entourage driving tiny golf carts!).

On Saturday, June 29 we shot on the water, using two production boats and a “hero” boat called The Reliable. The good folks at the Des Moines Marina let us use their party dock for our temporary production offices, and since there wasn’t much room only essential crew members boarded the boats. Shooting on a small 1945 Tug Boat was cozy and very difficult. Just moving the crew out of the way of each set up and shot was tough! Add to that a very talented child Actor (Justin Howell), a Golden Retriever (“Kova”) and her Trainer Katherine Martucci, along with camera gear, props and crew, then throw it all onto Puget Sound and you can imagine what a logistics nightmare it almost became. But we got all the shots we needed (I think…) and Mt. Rainier appeared in all its glory for our hero shot towards the end of the day.

We’re now moving onto post-production, where Mr. Boydstun will edit the film into a cohesive story using synched sound from Kyle Porter. Luckily, since he was the Cinematographer, he (hopefully) got all the shots needed to complete the film. If not, we’ll get creative and figure things out. Once a rough cut is made, we’ll review it, revisions will be made, and we’ll watch it again. We’ll then “lock” the picture, get our special effects created and inserted, add all-original music from local musician David Templeton, then sweeten and mix the audio and voila…our movie will be done and ready for the world!

We’ll then move on to the film festival circuit, entering, promoting, marketing and trying to monetize our baby, hoping always to turn it into something bigger that we can all work on again, maybe as early as next summer.

You can always tell you’ve been under extreme stress, when – even after a big project (in this case, the filming) is finished – you still dream about it every night. We finished shooting on Monday, July 1, and as recent as Thursday night, July 4 I still had dreams about it. In my nocturnal visions, we’re usually setting up a shot, running very much behind schedule with LOTS of pressure to start filming again, when I suddenly look at the monitor and wonder “What is this shot? I don’t remember this? Why are we filming the back of a truck covered in canvas? That’s NOT in the script!” Another variation is being in the editing room, watching footage and wondering where this or that great shot went that I swear we got, then realizing we forgot to record it! It’s like the classic dream of having to take a test in a class you never had, knowing that if you didn’t pass you wouldn’t graduate.

My personal wish is to make this the absolute BEST project I’ve ever worked on, and to somehow parlay it into more movie work that both highlights and stimulates the economies of our great communities.

We’ll screen the film locally at the Tin Theater, so stay tuned for more info as we get closer. We can’t wait to show it to you!

Here are some photos taken by official Still Photographer Michael Brunk (click images to see larger versions/slideshow):


  • Tony Doupe as Harold Dahl
  • Allen Fitzpatrick as the original Man In Black
  • John Patrick Lowrie as J. Edgar Hoover
  • David S. Hogan as Agent Mitchell
  • Jodie Harwood as Helen Dahl
  • Justin Howell as Charles Dahl
  • Chris Soldevilla as Fred Crisman
  • Lisa B. Hammond as Miss Gandy
  • Danny House as Tin Room Owner
  • John White as Man on street
  • Laura Beth Peterson as Tin Room Waitress
  • Rick Walters and Aaron Breitbarth as Boat Workers
  • Kova” the dog as “Sparky” (the Dahl’s dog)


  • Directed by Scott Schaefer
  • Written by Steve Edmiston
  • Executive Producer: John White
  • Co-Executive Producers: Laura Beth & Scott Peterson, Danny House
  • Producers: Scott Schaefer, Steve Edmiston
  • Line Producer: Elizabeth Heile
  • Casting Director: Stephen Salamunovich
  • Associate Producer: Nancy Pappas Barnhart
  • Director of Photography: Mike Boydstun
  • Assistant Director: Laura Jean Cronin
  • 2nd Assistant Director: Rick Walters
  • Assistant Camera: Eric Remme
  • Still Photographer: Michael Brunk
  • Aerial Photography: Kelvin Hughes
  • DIT/Slate: Jeff Vanderpool
  • Sound: Kyle Porter
  • Editor: Mike Boydstun
  • Sound Design: Kyle Porter
  • Music: David Templeton
  • Production Manager: Nikki Sherritt-Lewis
  • Production Designer: Lisa B. Hammond
  • Prop Master: Jared Thomas
  • Set Decorator: Beth Peterson
  • On-Set Dresser: Darren Edwards
  • On-Set Dresser/Props: David Templeton
  • Set Dresser: Terry Wright
  • Set Dresser: Thomas Gilbert
  • Props Assist: Daniel Desrosier
  • Costume Design: Ashley Russell
  • Costume Assist: Chloe McNutt
  • Makeup: Renee Majour
  • Makeup Assist: Helena Caldwell (of Serenza Spa & Salon)
  • Special FX: Adam Rosand
  • Key Grip: Jimi Hicks
  • Gaffer: Mark Bueing
  • Swing: Ron Novak
  • Locations Manager: Will Chase
  • Script Supervisor: Andy Spletzer
  • Set PA: Jake Anderson
  • Set PA/Intern: Vixxen Pavy
  • Set PA/Intern: Bill Herling
  • Production Accountant: Jonica Combs
  • Set Medic: Shawn Dailey
  • Craft Services: Shannon D. Stabert
  • Dog Trainer: Katherine Martucci


  • 1947 ‘Man In Black’ Buick provided by John White
  • Craft Services Donations courtesy Salty’s at Redondo, Azteca of Burien
  • Historical Consultants: Charlette & Philip LeFevre of the NW Museum of Legends and Lore
  • Special thanks to the Des Moines Marina
  • Special thanks to the Cities of Des Moines, Burien, Tukwila and Maury Island
  • Special thanks to the Maury Island Incident Historical Society
  • Shot at Maury Island, Landmark on the Sound (Des Moines), Terry Joaquin house (for sale in Tukwila), Tin Room Bar (Burien)
  • Camera boat: SAFE Boats
  • Picture boat: “The Reliable

More info at

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‘Maury Island Incident’ film wins state Innovation Lab Award

Producers of the locally-produced short film “The Maury Island Incident” – which starts shooting June 28 – were honored with an Innovation Lab award from Washington Filmworks at the Seattle International Film Festival on Saturday, June 8.


Accepting the Innovation Lab award Saturday were (left to right): Writer/Producer Steve Edmiston, Producer Danny House, Executive Producer John White, Director of Photography Michael Boydstun and Director/Producer Scott Schaefer. Photo courtesy Washington Filmworks.

The Innovation Lab program offers funding assistance support, and is designed to challenge local filmmakers to create motion picture content that traverses multiple platforms. It’s part of a long term economic development strategy designed to invest in the future of film by tapping into Washington’s creative community and encouraging original storytelling that capitalizes on new forms of production and technology.

“This is a tremendous honor,” Edmiston said, “and we are thrilled to receive this award, which will help us create innovative new forms to tell this long-forgotten piece of local UFO history.”

Filming on the production is set to begin in the Burien/Des Moines/Maury Island area June 28.

“Winning an award like this really propels this project forward,” Schaefer added. “This film has really got a life of its own, with a lot of momentum, and it’s becoming a lot of fun for all involved. That is, as long as no Men In Black try to stop it…”

A jury of industry experts, representing all facets of motion picture production, multiplatform storytelling, and emerging entertainment models selected finalists from a diverse pool of 25 quality applications.

Here’s what Jury member Matt Vancil said as he presented the award:

“The Maury Island Incident exposes a fascinating hidden history: the first recorded UFO incidents in the US didn’t occur in Roswell, but in Washington. This captivating project brings a spooky local legend to light and sets the stage for ongoing storytelling on the subject.”

Final decisions were based on the merits of each project and its investment in Washington State. The Board of Washington Filmworks approved the jury recommendations for funding and the awards were announced on Saturday, June 8 at the Seattle International Film Festival. These projects, helmed by Washington resident filmmakers, will push the boundaries of how motion picture content is used, and help create new revenue models for the motion picture industry.

“The five recipients of funding assistance have creative vision and a deep understanding of the business of film,” said Amy Lillard, Executive Director of Washington Filmworks. “As the digital revolution continues to shape the future of entertainment, each of these filmmakers are thinking creatively about how to leverage their story with existing technology resources unique to Washington. This entrepreneurial approach to filmmaking will inevitably lead to exciting new business models that will help create more jobs and economic activity in the statewide motion picture industry.”

Here are the five winning projects:

  • The Maury Island Incident – Steve Edmiston (Writer/Producer) and Scott Schaefer (Director/Co-Producer)
  • Rocketmen – Alycia Delmore (Producer/Actor) and Webster Crowell (Writer/Director)
  • Science-Trak (formerly referred to as Project Pluto) Kevin Maude (Executive Producer) and Graeme Lowry (Producer)
  • People of the Salish Sea – Tracy Rector (Producer/Director) and Lou Karsen (Producer/Co-Director)
  • Emerald City – Lacey Leavitt (Writer/Director) and Eric Stalzer (Co-Writer)

About The Innovation Lab
The Filmworks Innovation Lab is designed to invest in our local creative community and to encourage the development of original storytelling that capitalizes on new forms of production and technology. By leveraging our existing film infrastructure and the diversity of our in-state technology resources, Washington is uniquely positioned to incubate a groundbreaking digital entertainment platform that fosters a new Creative Economy for Washington State. For more information on the Innovation Lab, visit the following link:

About Washington Filmworks
Washington Filmworks is the non-profit 501(c)(6) organization that manages the state film and production incentive programs. Its mission is to create economic development opportunities by building and enhancing the competitiveness, profile and sustainability of Washington’s film industry. We do this by creating possibilities for local and national filmmakers, offering comprehensive production support, as well as financial incentives. More info at

About The Maury Island Incident
The Maury Island Incident is a short film that tells the story of a long-forgotten UFO encounter that happened off Maury Island, WA on June 21, 1947. This often-overlooked incident happened just two days before Ken Arnold’s Mount Rainier sighting, which spawned the phrase ‘flying saucers,’ and 16 days before the infamous Roswell crash. It also included what is considered by many experts to be the first “Men in Black” encounter as well. The script is based on FBI investigative documents that were declassified in 1997 – 50 years after the incident.

For more information on the film, visit; to donate to the production, visit; to volunteer services, visit

Producers seeking donations, volunteers and help

Producers of “The Maury Island Incident” – which will likely begin production at the end of June – are seeking help from the community.

The film, which is based on the true story of a man’s UFO sighting off Maury Island in 1947, is currently in pre-production, and casting will begin soon. It’s written by local Filmmaker Steve Edmiston, and will be Directed by BTB Founder/Publisher (and veteran TV Writer/Director) Scott Schaefer. Executive Producer is John White, and Producers include Laura Beth and Scott Peterson of SAFE Boats, along with Tin Room Bar/Theater Owner Danny House. Nancy Pappas-Barnhart is Associate Producer.

Please note that Donors cannot be paid…HOWEVER…on-screen credit at the end of the film, as well as credit and thanks on the project website and social media pages (including links to your website), will be given.

Some of the film’s current needs include:

  • A Set Medic to be on set at all times in case someone gets injured; this should be a certified EMT (you’ll get to be on our working set every day!).
  • A Bookkeeper to handle the film’s accounting (QuickBooks, Excel, etc.).
  • A 1940s-era House that can be used to shoot at for one day; preferably with a porch and a screen door.
  • Catering donations for four shooting days, for a crew of up to 15.
  • Gift Cards to local grocery stores for various items for shoot days.
  • A 1940s-era working, fishing-style boat that can be gently used for a full day of shooting off Maury Island (boat owner will likely serve as the Pilot of the boat, and would possibly be an Extra).
  • Cash Donations, which can be made online easily here:

If you can help with any of the above, or know someone who might be willing to help, please email ASAP!

“We really appreciate the community’s support and interest, which has been overwhelming,” said Producer/Director Schaefer. “This film is truly a team effort, and we are working hard to make it something that everyone can be proud of!”

The current team also includes:

If you’re not yet familiar with this intriguing, yet nearly-forgotten local story, here’s a video:

VIDEOS: Burien’s First-Ever April Fool’s ‘UFO Crash’ Party a HUGE Success!

Olde Burien was abuzz Monday night (April 1) as SW 152nd was overtaken by a “crashed” UFO, a Flash Mob and hundreds of people celebrating the upcoming local filming of “The Maury Island Incident,” as well as what could become an annual April Fool’s event.

The event was produced by Renatta Emerson Events, the UFO was designed and built by John White (the film’s Executive Producer) and his crew, and fun was had by all – aliens, Men in Black, Women in Black, and even some Dogs in Black!

KOMO News was also on hand, and they produced this video showing the block party, which was a huge, fun success:

And here’s a video of one of the Flash Mobs doing “Thriller,” as shot by Michael Brunk:

NOTE: We’ll be doing a separate post with photos from the event, so check back…

VIDEO: KOMO News Does Great Segment on ‘The Maury Island Incident’

Thanks KOMO News for doing such a great segment on our film and April Fool’s Day ‘UFO Crash’ event (read about that here):

Help Us Make a Movie!

The Maury Island Incident” will be a short film based on a long-forgotten UFO encounter that happened off Maury Island, WA on June 21, 1947.

This often-overlooked incident happened just two days before Ken Arnold’s Mount Rainier sighting, which spawned the phrase ‘flying saucers,’ and 16 days before the infamous Roswell crash.

It also included what is considered by many experts to be the first “Men in Black” encounter as well.

We are basing our script on FBI investigative documents that were declassified in 1997 – 50 years after the incident.

This film will be produced and shot locally in the Burien, Des Moines, Maury Island and Tacoma area starting in June, 2013…and YOU can help – simply donate online by clicking the button below:



…or…let us know how you can help, or join our Insider email list – just fill out the form in the right sidebar (we promise not to share your info with any Men in Black…).

Some of the areas we’re seeking help in include:

  • A Bookkeeper/Accountant.
  • An older, 1930s/40s-era boat that can double as the North Queen, the log-scavenging boat used by Protagonist Harold Dahl.
  • A team of marketing “Fans” to help pass out postcards, posters and other promotional items.
  • Social Marketing whizzes who can help us get more “Likes” on Facebook and Followers on Twitter (and other websites).
  • Costume Designer/Prop Person with access to 1940s-era clothing/props for:
    • A “Man in Black.”
    • A blue collar log scavenger.
    • Men’s Masonic rings (2 matching ones).

If you can help, please email and let us know!