'UFO' Film Delves into Real-life Debate Surrounding Phenomenon

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

A new fictional film will come out later this year that attempts to tackle the strange and often frustrating topic of UFOs.

The film, titled UFO, follows Derek (Alex Sharp), a college student intrigued by the UFO phenomenon following a childhood encounter, as he investigates a mysterious series of UFO sightings at airports. Along with his girlfriend (Ella Purnell), and his skeptical mathematics professor (X-Files' Gillian Anderson), he must work to solve the mystery while avoiding FBI special agent Franklin Ahls (David Strathairn).

Sony released the trailer for the film last Monday on World UFO Day as part of its marketing campaign.

UFO draws directly from ufological lore for its inspiration, with the UFO in the trailer mirroring a 2006 incident in which a disc-shape craft hovering above Chicago's O'Hare airport was reportedly seen by several airport employees and independent witnesses--the event made national news at the time, and is considered one of the most intriguing UFO encounters of the modern era by many researchers. The binary code the beings use to communicate could similarly be referencing the 'download of information' in binary that Jim Penniston said he received during the 1980 Rendlesham Forest UFO encounter in England.

It is unclear how many such real-life events will be referenced, or how deeply the underlying mysteries and arguments explaining--or explaining away--their existence will be explored, but the film is billed as a thriller, which leaves room for more intellectual substance than, say, an action movie.

UFO was written and directed by Ryan Eslinger, and produced by Jeffery Sharp, Tom Rice and Evan Hayes; and executive produced by Jim Kohlberg, Siegfried Harris and Dan Kaplow.

The film began production in 2016, and is slated for release on DVD and digital streaming this September 4th.

Tobias Wayland