Feb. 2—Last year, the inaugural Northwest Flying Saucer Film Fest kicked off the third annual Chehalis Flying Saucer Party with close to 200 people filling McFiler's Chehalis Theater to screen 19 short films.
Now, the second annual Northwest Flying Saucer Film Fest will kick off the fourth annual Chehalis Flying Saucer Party — celebrating the 77th anniversary of Chehalis resident Kenneth Arnold's historic 1947 UFO sighting — beginning on Sept. 13, according to a Facebook post by event organizers.
Northwest filmmakers are invited to submit their UFO-themed short films, documentaries, animations or music videos to be shown during the film festival at McFiler's Chehalis Theater, located at 558 N. Market Blvd. in downtown Chehalis.
Submitted films must be 30 minutes or shorter and must be related to the UFO genre, meaning they can be about UFOs themselves, extraterrestrials, men in black, alien invasions or alien technology.
"You can have a bigfoot in your movie, but he better be flying a spaceship," states an excerpt from the film submission page.
Deadline for submission is Aug. 18, and a $30 submission fee is required.
To submit an entry, visit https://filmfreeway.com/NWFlyingSaucerFilmFest.
Those who have their film submissions selected to be shown in the Northwest Flying Saucer Film Fest will receive free admission to the film festival for themselves and a guest, along with an all-access pass to the rest of the 2024 Chehalis Flying Saucer Party.
All filmmakers must be based in the Pacific Northwest in Washington, Oregon, Idaho or British Columbia.
Custom trophies and bragging rights will be given to all award category winners, along with a $300 cash prize for the audience's favorite film. The audience's favorite will also be screened right before the classic Chehalis Flying Saucer Party feature film is screened the next day.
The feature film has yet to be determined.
Award categories this year include best film, best alien, best documentary, best animation, best music video, best first-time filmmaker and audience choice.
Last year's inaugural Northwest Flying Saucer Film Fest award winners included:
—Stuck In Orbit, which stole the show and won both best documentary and audience favorite. The film features John Henricksen, under the moniker "Burt Burtson," who claims to have been abducted, as he attempts to get people to believe his story. Henrickson made the film with the help of his family, including his grandson Enoch Lui, who directed the film. Stuck In Orbit can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/868014471.
—Fred Crisman: Cave of the Space Nazis!, which won the best animation award for its portrayal of one of Fred Lee Crisman's many real-life paranormal claims, which include fighting space aliens. It can be viewed at https://bit.ly/42Cpj0d.
—Two Little Men In A Flying Saucer, which won the best music video award and featured two aliens reacting to aspects of human life and society set to the 1951 song by Ella Fitzgerald by the same title. It can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/758167105.
—The Pod People, which won the best alien award with its ode to b-movie horror classics like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It can be viewed at https://bit.ly/3Sno93D.
—Sleestak's Big Adventure, which won the best first-time filmmaker award for its interpretation of the iconic "tequila" scene from Pee Wee's Big Adventure featuring the Portland Sleestak. It can be viewed at https://bit.ly/47VjxYl.
—Gravity Hill, which won the best film award for its story of a date at a local gravitational anomaly gone wrong. It can be viewed at https://bit.ly/49honAh.
Judging will be conducted by audience members, which will include local film producers and personalities, UFO nerds and any curious community members who decided to attend the screenings.
The Chehalis Flying Saucer Party is organized by the Lewis County Historical Museum and proceeds benefit the museum. The event was created to once again celebrate Arnold's flight, which ended up coining the term "flying saucer."
Kenneth Arnold's fateful flight
When Arnold took to the skies over Southwest Washington on June 24, 1947, he had no idea his flight would be talked about well beyond his own lifetime.
What was supposed to be a routine flight from Chehalis to Pendleton, Oregon, in his single-engine CalAir A-2 airplane turned into anything but routine, when about 20 miles west of Mount Rainier, somewhere near Mineral, he saw a bright flash in the northeast.
Initially, Arnold thought it was light reflecting off the metallic wings of another aircraft, but after more flashes appeared, he got a better look and quickly realized he wasn't witnessing any known conventional craft.
Arnold saw nine metallic objects flying in an echelon formation stretching nearly 5 miles. From his observations, each object appeared to be circular, roughly 100 feet in diameter, with no discernable tail matching conventional aircraft. The objects would periodically perform various aerial maneuvers including flips, banks and weaves.
Though it was only an estimate, Arnold knew the distance between Mount Rainier to Mount Adams and timed the objects as they traveled between the peaks. He calculated their airspeed to be at least 1,500 mph, more than twice as fast as any aircraft of the time.
In fact, the sound barrier had yet to be broken still until later that year in October when Chuck Yeager exceeded it for the first time flying his Bell X-1 flying at 767 mph.
Arnold co-authored a book titled "The Coming Of The Saucers" in which he detailed his sighting, but despite the book and a lifetime of investigation, he never discovered what those objects were.
To this day, nobody knows what Arnold saw in the skies above Mount Rainier, which eventually came to be known as "flying saucers" after an East Oregonian article used the words "saucer-like aircraft" to describe them the day after Arnold's sighting.
Chehalis residents began celebrating Arnold's sighting with a "saucer drop" during the Krazy Days festival in the 1960s and 70s, but the tradition was eventually forgotten until the Chehalis Flying Saucer Party revived it in 2019.
Aside from the Northwest Flying Saucer Film Fest and saucer drop event, the Chehalis Flying Saucer Party features speakers from throughout the paranormal investigative world along with special UFO-themed displays at the Lewis County Historical Museum.
For more information, visit https://www.flyingsaucerparty.org/.