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 Des Moines/Burien/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