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Featured Reviews

Katie Rife, Entertainment Weekly

Listed as #1 in Entertainment Weekly's list of "The Ten Best UFO Documentaries to Watch Now", Katie Rife provides an impressive round-up of films on the topic. "...focuses on the human consequences of extraterrestrial contact...follows one of those witnesses as she returns to the site of the event as an adult, bringing in a BBC reporter and a Harvard professor to corroborate her story — and those of her classmates — for the first time."

Noel Murray, Top Critic, Los Angeles Times

"...there is undeniable power in hearing the recollections of people who shared something so remarkable and so inexplicable."

Victor Stiff, That Shelf, Rotten Tomatoes

"Ariel Phenomenon challenges viewers on a primal level... No matter how you slice it, Randall Nickerson’s riveting documentary delivers a soul-wrenching experience."

Alan Ng, Film Threat

"My criteria for a good documentary is simply to present the facts and challenge my beliefs. By the end of Ariel Phenomenon, I’m still skeptical, but I’m still thinking about UFOs long after seeing the film and trying to reconcile what a large group of witnesses actually saw. That makes it a good documentary."

Simon Foster, Screen-Space, Rotten Tomatoes

"In a media landscape where dime-a-dozen ‘Are we alone?’-type pseudo-docos litter the streaming channels, Ariel Phenomenon appears positively barebones in its frank presentation of evidence and emotions."

Eddie Harrison, Film Authority, Rotten Tomatoes

"...with no less an august figure as UFO expert Dan Aykroyd offering his praise for Ariel Phenomenon, it’s well worth a recommend to those inclined to watch."

Billy Cox, Life in Jonestown

"Nickerson’s tenacity has managed to produce a solemn, restrained, and challenging addition to the UFO corpus, one which should rightfully command global audiences."

Linda Cook,, Rotten Tomatoes

"This is one of the most incredible documentaries you’ll ever see, and one of the most astounding true stories you’ll ever hear."

Mitch Horowitz, PEN Award-winning Writer & Historian

"An extraordinary portrait of the psychology of human experience.” Mitch Horowitz, panel member at our Regal Union Square screening, deep dives on the academic history of believing / not believing witnesses in society, and the strength of Ariel Phenomenon to accomplish the telling of this experience. This clip was captured by our friend Jay King.

In the News - Featured Articles

NPR'S WHYY Philadelphia

Links to segment, which was part of a three-part story "How UFOs Went from Fringe to Mainstream". October 2023.

Tom Rogan, The Washington Examiner

"...the success of Nickerson's work is that it leaves us with more compelling questions than easy answers."

Christopher Plain, The Debrie

"...(Nickerson) captures a surprisingly emotional story that, when told through the eyes of Emily Trim and other student witnesses, delicately weaves the facts of the case into a fresh, particularly human narrative that feels as much like a dramatic feature film as a documentary."

Ryan Sprague, Medium

"The film packs a very emotional punch for those who experienced it and for those watching."

Henry Holloway, The Sun

"Many former servicemen and women along with former Pentagon insiders are now coming forward with incredible accounts of what they saw - with the world facing an apparent reality that there is something unexplained in the skies."

Josh Boswell, The Daily Mail

"The children who saw the beings described them as 'moving in slow motion like they were on the moon'...The children stand by their story to this day."

Last Podcast on the Left

Episode 499.5 covers the event and film. "It's fantastic - one of the best UFO docs. It's well made...not a bunch of horse &*$. - Marcus Parks


Episodes 246 & 247 gives enthusiastic coverage of this event and the film, and the dangers of not believing children.

Steve Pfarrer for the Daily Hampshire Gazette

"But their stories were still the same,” Nickerson said. “They didn’t say, ‘Maybe I was wrong’ or ‘I’m not sure what I saw.’ And they wanted me to tell the story … it’s something they’d been holding inside for so long.”

Recent Interviews - Featured Appearances

NPR'S WHYY Philadelphia

Links to segment, which was part of a three-part story "How UFOs Went from Fringe to Mainstream", with an interview with Randall Nickerson. October 2023.

Koncrete Podcast

Feb. 2023 - A wide-ranging conversation that goes deep with host Danny Jones on this widely-popular show whose mission is to explore "the boundaries of free thinking".

Chris Ryan, Tangentially Speaking

Jan. 2023 - Chris Ryan and Randall Nickerson discuss the film, the event & related topics on the well-known podcast "writing, ranting, and raving from bestselling author and OG podcaster, Chris Ryan."


Media Appearances Playlist

Media appearances since May 2022 - all podcasts and media shows that have YouTube channels, that Randall Nickerson has appeared on to discuss the event and film.

George Knapp, Coast to Coast

May 15, 2022 - George Knapp welcomed documentary director Randall Nickerson, who discussed his latest project, Ariel Phenomenon. Fifteen years in the making, the film explores the 1994 case of sixty-two students in Zimbabwe who reported that two alien beings emerged from a silver disc-shaped craft landing at their school...

Chrissy Newton, Rebelliously Curious for The Debrief

May 20, 2022 - Filmmaker Randall Nickerson joins Chrissy Newton to discuss his documentary, Ariel Phenomenon based on the 1994 Ariel School UFO sighting, witnessed by over sixty schoolchildren in Zimbabwe, Africa.

Monte Belmonte Morning Show, 93.9 The River

Joining director Randall Nickerson is Supervising Editor and Co-writer Christopher Seward for a rare interview, along with a skeptic: Professor of Astronomy Dr. Salman Hameed, along with the always-entertaining host, Monte Belmonte. (Aired before the Northampton, MA premiere).

Aaron Sagers, Talking Strange, for the Den of Geek Network

May 25, 2022 - Nickerson joined Talking Strange host Aaron Sagers to discuss his nearly 20 year journey making the film, his interviews with the now-grown eyewitnesses, and shares shocking behind-the-scenes details...

Ryan Sprague, Somewhere in the Skies

Nickerson joined Ryan Sprague and Chrissy Newton to detail his research, creative process, and the importance of this deeply profound close encounter case and its impact on those involved.

Martin Willis, Podcast UFO

August 23, 2022 - Nickerson joined Martin Willis to speak on the aftermath of his brilliant film, the betrayal of an online streaming platform, and people he met on the journey of filming in Africa and their unheard of encounters.

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