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Interview with producer of the Australian UFO Wave 2006 hoax

This is a copy of the interview originally published on ufowatchdog.com in 2006, which now appears to have disappeared.


ufowatchdog.com Interviews Filmmaker, Writer And UFO Hoaxer Chris Kenworthy


Story and contents ©2006 ufowatchdog.com

This is part one of an interview with filmmaker/writer Chris Kenworthy, the man behind the now infamous Australian UFO Wave 2006 website (no longer active). ufowatchdog.com would, in spite of all the fake UFO footage, like to thank Kenworthy for taking the time to participate in this interview. Usually when UFO hoaxes are exposed, those doing the hoaxing take off running, But to his credit, Kenworthy took the time to answer some questions about his footage, his reasons behind it, what he claims is real UFO footage mixed in at the site, and his own UFO sightings. The original ufowatchdog.com story can be found here with the follow-up here (links no longer available).

ufowatchdog.com: First, and I’m sure you knew I’d ask, have you ever had a UFO sighting?

Kenworthy: Many. I’m a pilot as well, so I usually know what to look for in the sky. But yes, since I was seven years old I’ve had many sightings. So many I almost lose track of them. Some could be ball lightning (if it really exists), or misidentifications, but some were very, very strange, and difficult to explain conventionally.

ufowatchdog.comWhy did you come forward and post the latest information on your site about it being a hoax, or as you call it, an immersive artwork?

Kenworthy: The plan was always to produce around 30 clips, over two to three months, and then post the truth about the project. I didn’t want to just muddy the waters and disappear, I always wanted to clarify exactly what had gone on. The plan was also to reduce the plausibility of the clips, so that most (if not all) viewers would realise that something was amiss. There was a huge shift when the last two clips went up, and most people did realise what was going on, so there was no point in keeping the secret any longer. Having said that, there were still many people who were convinced by those last two clips.

ufowatchdog.comWhat made you choose UFO sightings?

Kenworthy: Shortly after seeing a UFO in 1977, I felt utterly compelled to stage a hoax in my back garden. I faked some photographs, and was even going to fake a landing site (but I was only nine years old, and soon lost interest). I can’t really explain why I wanted to do that. But UFOs remained of great interest to me. For a few years in the mid-nineties I made my living writing for UFO magazines and so on, and was also compelled to make crop circles. Again, I didn’t see this as hoaxing, but felt like I was partaking in a greater mystery. (I was only a minor circlemaker, I should add). And the time I spent in Wiltshire was the strangest time of my life. Reality seemed malleable, down there. I had missing time, many UFO sightings and all sorts of strange goings on. I’d plan to make a crop circle in a certain field, and then find it had appeared exactly as planned a day before I even got there. Or I’d walk to a remote field, put in a tiny circle, and the next morning find a huge one had appeared in the same field. Weird stuff. In fact, it was all so strange that I became a bit overwhelmed and left UFOlogy behind for ten years. And then, once I became a film-maker, I started thinking about this project. I wanted people to catch a glimpse of what it’s like to experience a genuine sighting.

ufowatchdog.comYou mention you wanted to evoke an emotional response from people. How do you think your UFO footage accomplishes that? I have to be frank and say that about the only reaction it got out of me was a good laugh. I’ve seen a lot of UFO footage and a lot of what I saw on your website did not seem very credible to me at all.

Kenworthy: I do take your point, but I have to say that from the responses I received, you’re in the minority. Now that we’ve confessed, I’m getting lots of emails from people saying that they knew they were fakes all along. But almost nobody said that while the project was underway. We have thousands and thousands of emails from people saying that they were convinced that the footage was real. And although lots of people are rewriting history now and saying they were never impressed by the footage, at the time, many people believed.

I’m also pleased to report that I’ve had a surprisingly large number of emails from people saying that they don’t mind that the clips were faked, because it did entertain or move them. Rather than debunking UFOs, I think I’ve stirred some people to be interested in UFOs.

ufowatchdog.comWhy would you be concerned about the quality of UFO research, pro or con?

Kenworthy: I get very frustrated by the fact that the World Trade Center UFO clip (which is so clearly a fake) continues to be presented as the best evidence, by so many people. That clips is everywhere, and people rave about it, but it’s such an obvious fake. Although serious researchers couldn’t be fooled by that, far too many sites showed and shared that clip – and many still do. And too few have gone to the trouble of exposing it as a fake. The same is true of that recent clip (can’t quite remember the details) of a big, shiny flying saucer landing behind an arts building. It was so clearly a television commercial, but a few reputable sites carried that clip for months. Sites just post the juiciest clips, without looking into their authenticity.

Now, you could say that these websites are distinct from “real” UFO research, but in the public eye, they are not. So I wanted to make websites more cautious about putting up the latest fake.

In terms of real research, I want that to improve because I think UFOlogy is a valid subject. Something’s going on. I have no idea what, but it isn’t all ball lightning.

ufowatchdog.comIf you were concerned with what you deem to be a lack of quality or thorough research in the UFO field and that believers and skeptics don’t question enough, why would you decide to fake UFO footage as a means of addressing that topic? Don’t you think you’ve done far more harm than good by hoaxing UFO footage? Do you think that skeptics will use what you’ve done to promote their belief that all UFO sightings are unfounded?

Kenworthy: I try to point out on the website that skeptics were more easily misled than believers . Skeptics would reach for their standard explanations – birds, ball lightning, Venus etc. without studying our footage closely. Skepticism is driven by faith, and I wanted to make that clear. So I don’t think skeptics are better armed as a result of this project.

Some have suggested that I could have simply offered fake clips up to researchers, to demonstrate the fakery, without any deception. But the moment you tell people it’s a fake, they say, ‘Oh yes, it’s obviously a fake, I’d never be convinced by that.’ Lots of websites are rewriting their opinion of my clips now that we’ve revealed the truth. Some are even pretending that haven’t seen the revelation, and that they worked this out by themselves. Because people want to look like experts who could never be fooled, nobody will admit that forged footage looks convincing. The only way to make them see the power of a fake, is to present it as real.

And no, I haven’t harmed UFOlogy. The field is harmed when obvious fakes are allowed to parade as real. I hope I’ve made people more cautious. Only then – when obvious fakes and misidentifications are eradicated – while the general public, scientists etc be able to take the field seriously. (For instance, there’s a much-viewed clip on the web, of a passenger jet overhead – it’s so clearly a plane – you can even hear it. But several sites carry this as evidence of an amazing sighting. How does that help UFOlogy? It doesn’t. These clips should be debunked.)

ufowatchdog.comYou said that all of the clips are fake, except two. Which two do you think are genuine?

Kenworthy: [video clip 3 and video clip 24]…They are not very impressive, but they are real – I took them. I put them in to see if anybody could spot the difference, but these clips were largely ignored, because they’re not that dramatic. I’m not for a second claiming that these are alien ships – but they were Unidentified Flying Objects, and the first one really was quite strange at the time.

Video Clip 3
Video Clip 24

ufowatchdog.comHow do you expect anyone to do any real research without having more info? Surely someone asked for a bit more information than was offered on your website.

Kenworthy: Agreed, but only three or four (I’ll have to check exactly how many) people asked for more info. And when my team fobbed them off with excuses, these researchers should have smelt a rat – but instead, they posted the clips on their site. I honestly thought the whole project might be exposed within a week, but researchers weren’t thorough enough.

Many people were convinced because the clips showed things that are “impossible to fake”. Objects moving behind other objects, handheld shots, lens blurring and so on. Although these things are easy to fake, many researchers still think you need a Hollywood budget to achieve them.

ufowatchdog.comYou claim that very few people questioned the authenticity of your work, while I’ve heard many, many people express that the videos they’ve seen are outright frauds. Did anyone try to contact you, aside from ufowatchdog.com, about your footage? Did anyone send you any data or analysis?

Kenworthy: I agree that many people started writing about the obvious fakery when we put that last two clips up, but before that, I saw very little to suggest that people thought these were fakes. I received lots of data and analysis, but almost none of it showed that the clips were fake. Mostly, people used their analysis to point out which clips were of satellites and space junk. In reality, none were. If nothing else I hoped to improve UFOlogy by showing that applying Photoshop filters to still frames from clips proves nothing. Many people seem to think it proves that solid objects are up in the sky. It doesn’t.

One FX artist pointed out to me the tell-tale motion blur trails. But she was the only one that got in touch. If you look on the web, there are many CGI forums and FX forums, where people who work in TV, film and FX say there’s nothing to indicate that these are fakes. That surprised me. There are also other places where FX artists see straight through the facade. I think UFO researchers should send every clip they receive to experienced FX artists, straight away.

ufowatchdog.comThe New Zealand Film Commission funded a project by famous film maker Peter Jackson, a project called Forgotten Silver, which was the center of some controversy when numerous people thought it was a true story. Was any of this your inspiration for this project?

Kenworthy: I’ve never heard of that, but how fascinating.

ufowatchdog.comHow much do you know about the UFO field? Major cases? Investigators? Hoaxes? Have you studied the field or are you familiar with any of the literature? I’d assume you did some research for your project.

Kenworthy: I hope the above has already answered that. I even wrote a book myself, called Aliens, but it wasn’t a great book – just a taster for kids, really. But yes, I have studied the field all my life.

This is part two of an interview with filmmaker/writer Chris Kenworthy, the man behind the now infamous Australian UFO Wave 2006 website. ufowatchdog.com would, in spite of all the fake UFO footage, like to thank Kenworthy for taking the time to participate in this interview. Usually when UFO hoaxes are exposed, those doing the hoaxing take off running, But to his credit, Kenworthy took the time to answer some questions about his footage, his reasons behind it, what he claims is real UFO footage mixed in at the site, and his own UFO sightings.

ufowatchdog.com: Tell me about that clip with the alien walking toward the cameraman. It really was pretty outrageous. Did you have anyone contact you about this, pro or con?

Kenworthy: Yes, it was absolutely meant to push the project beyond the level of plausibility. Again, I was surprised that anybody took it seriously. Most people didn’t, and lots wrote to me saying it was fake straight away. Good for them.

I don’t know if they thought this because it was badly done (it was a rush job), or because it’s just implausible. But yes, lots of people wrote to say it was fake, and it was at this point that many sites stopped putting my clips up. This was also when people became suspicious. Interestingly, a few researchers wrote in to say that we (Australian UFO Wave) were the victims of a hoax. So people were still along way from the total-hoax theory at that point.

ufowatchdog.com: How did you achieve the alien in your film clip?

Kenworthy: I modified a human figure in Poser 6.0, gave it a walk path, then composited it into some footage left over from another project, using After Effects, then reframed and added motion blur and grain.

ufowatchdog.com: A researcher I know contacted you and sent you an enhanced frame from one of the clips calling it an outright fake – the alien clip. The researcher told me you never responded to him. This is a good researcher, someone I know.

Kenworthy: I wasn’t in charge of email, but most interesting stuff was passed on to me. I can honestly say I never saw this, and can’t find any record of it. I know a bundle of people commented on this clip and rightly spotted the fakery, but I don’t recall being sent an enhanced frame. Although this sounds lame, I do worry about my hosting service – it seems as though an awful lot of mail never made it through. But, that said, yes, lots of people spotted that this was fake.

ufowatchdog.com: Don’t you think it difficult to expect anyone to do a proper analysis from a video clip as opposed to the original media? I find that the compression of the video clips tends to make it harder to see distortions or manipulation. Of course, I’m on a PC and not a Mac.

Kenworthy: Agreed. Which is why we compressed them to that size. It was nothing to do with bandwidth. If the clips were twice the size and resolution, we could still get away with the deception, but it would take much longer. Researchers and websites should refuse to post clips without seeing the full-res version at the least, and ideally the camera tape.

ufowatchdog.com: What other UFO videos have you seen that are frauds that you dislike?

Kenworthy: Blimey, I could spend a lot of time on this. There are so many. Perhaps, at some point, I should start listing the ones that I dislike, and stating why I think they’re frauds.

ufowatchdog.com: Are you a fan of the Alien Autopsy film at all?

Kenworthy: I was at a conference the year it came out, and before most people had seen it I saw the film debunked by John Lundberg and Rod Dickinson, so I didn’t really get the sense of wonder that it could otherwise have created when I finally got to see the thing. God knows what Santilli was really up to. It was a bit disappointing, ultimately.

ufowatchdog.com: In reading your original proposal to the Australian Film Commission, I noticed this was presented solely as an art project, never mentioning anything about improving UFO research. Is this something you added to enhance your coming documentary in hopes of attracting or tapping the market group of people actually involved in UFOs?

Kenworthy: Much as I respect the AFC, I thought they’d be much less likely to buy into the project if they thought I was a UFO-sympathiser. So I offered it to them as pure art. Grant applications need to be clear and single-minded, so I didn’t want to confuse the issue by telling them my thoughts on UFOlogy.

ufowatchdog.com: Tell me more about the two UFO clips you claim are real. The two clips you claim are authentic do have a very different look and feel to them as opposed to the other clips you say you manufactured. Have the films been analyzed? I get the feeling that some people are going to have a hard time believing what you say now (laughing). Or maybe not.

Kenworthy: No they haven’t been analysed. I’m sure the second one is just another aircraft, so I hardly think it’s worth the effort. There I go, jumping to conclusions. But the first one is a bit of a mystery. If a serious researcher wanted to look into that I have about 6 minutes of footage, on HD tape, at HD resolution.

To fake that, with all the camera zooms and camera shake etc, would take up more budget than we had for the whole project. So, it’s there if anybody wants it. I’d love to know what that thing was. If it was an aeroplane why was the contrail so short? And why did I spot this on the very day I was about to start shooting backgrounds for the project. Creepy. Of course, people will doubt my testimony, and that’s the price I pay. But that’s always the case when you’re a UFO witness – people doubt you.

ufowatchdog.com: You mention you’ve had quite a few UFO sightings – is there a lot of what you would deem UFO activity in Australia? What other types of sightings have you had?

Kenworthy: Personally, very little in Australia, although I’ve heard great stories from people. The crazed car chase that closed the project was based, loosely, on a real event related to me personally by somebody who is very down to earth.

My own experiences go back to about 1976, and they seemed to come in clusters. The most impressive was a bright ball of light that crossed East Field in Wiltshire in 1993. I saw it from above, on a hillside, so I know it wasn’t venus, an aeroplane, a helicopter etc. It was so low that it lit the corn up, clearly enough for me to ascertain its speed and size – about the size of a large car and very, very fast. There were several witnesses. It moved about for two minutes.

Same hillside, several years later, I saw a series of light streaks that defied ordinary explanation – meteors that stopped then started again, if you will.

Loads more, but hey, who’s going to believe me.

I interviewed an abductee a few years ago, and when the interview was over, she said, ‘It happens to you as well, doesn’t it.’ It really freaked me out that she could tell that I was somebody who has a lot of experiences like this, because I’d tried to play my cards close to my chest.

ufowatchdog.com: I noticed you posted a lot of e-mail from people who you claim were convinced your footage was real. A lot of folks have contacted me saying they sent you many e-mails about the footage not being real. Why didn’t you post any of those responses? It really does paint a picture that everyone bought into the video. It has been my experience that the vast majority of UFO hoaxes are exposed by the pro UFO folks. I’m personally very 50/50 with your project – I see the need to educate folks on how easy it has become to manipulate video and distribute it on the Internet, but do you think there might have been a better way to get that point across?

Kenworthy: OK, I have to say this worries me a bit. To my knowledge we only received a handful – three or four- suggestions of hoax, until the last two weeks. If hoards of emails came in to the contrary, I would be big enough to point that out. So I’m not sure what’s going on here.

Would there be a better way to get the point across? Not for me. In the past I’ve shown people faked footage, and they have no interest in analysing it, because it;s so far removed from the genuine footage that they have blah blah blah. I think people needed to be challenged or confused a little. If anybody knew from the outset that this was a total hoax, I really wish they’d written in or posted it on the net. But from what I can see, those claims only came right at the end.

Kudos to anybody who did spot it – please share your skills with the rest of the UFO community.

ufowatchdog.com: You say you’re fed up with all the bogus UFO footage floating around. Do you have any concern that the clips you produced will come back to haunt you, in that they will be presented as real in other forums on the Internet? It’d seem that would be quite a slap in the face.

Kenworthy: Indeed, and I’m sure it will happen, but I won’t sit back and let it happen. I won’t be able to work on this full time, but if and when I find these clips being sold as real, I’ll put people straight.

ufowatchdog.com: What’s the reaction in Australia been like to your project? Have any UFO investigators or groups there tried to contact you and if so, what have they said to you?

Kenworthy: I was called a disgusting adolescent by one group, this morning, which is great because I’ve not been adolescent for at least 18 years now. I’m 38.

No, they are angry, but I think that once people see that I hate faith-driven skeptics, and love UFOlogy and believe in UFOs, they calm down and listen to what I have to say.

ufowatchdog.com: Now, I’m laughing at this, but some people are insinuating that since your project was financed by a department of the Australian government, please bear with me here, that you are part of an official disinformation campaign to debunk UFOs. Sorry, I had to ask. What do you think of this? I have confirmed that the Australian Film Commission did finance your project.

Kenworthy: Don’t apologise. That’s polite. I have emails saying, “Die Illuminati Scum”, and so on. This project does fit the model of disinformation – you set up something very similar to the real and then expose the hoax to debunk the real phenomenon. But if it was disinformation, I doubt you’d see that big Australian Govt logo on it – they’d just get a quasi-autonomous company to do the work and keep their name off the project. And hopefully, everything else I’m saying now makes it clear that I’m not a UFO-basher.

ufowatchdog.com: Some UFO researchers are, well, let’s say less than happy with your project and they really feel you’ve hurt legitimate research to some extent. Your thoughts on this?

Kenworthy: I sincerely hope not. I know that many people who weren’t interested in UFOs now are, despite the nature of our project. I know that when researchers get better at spotting fakes, they will be less easily dismissed by government and scientists and the general public.

ufowatchdog.com: I receive hate mail from time to time. Get much of this since you come forward about your project?

Kenworthy: See above. Lots. But at present it’s outnumbered by positive responses, which, to be completely honest, does surprise me. I admit that the positive responses mostly come from people who weren’t previously involved with UFOs, but there it is…

ufowatchdog.com: Tell me about Aliens, the book you wrote.

Kenworthy: Heck. I can’t even remember. It’s 8 or 9 years ago, and it was a gift book – the sort they sell in greetings card shops – made up of a tiny paragraphs about famous cases and so on.

ufowatchdog.com: When do you plan on releasing your documentary?

Kenworthy: The documentary is paid for, but we haven’t even begun to approach broadcasters or distributors yet. It’ll be finished around November this year, and I’d like to get it out there as soon as possible after that.

ufowatchdog.com: Have you considered doing a serious UFO documentary?

Kenworthy: Yes, although I don’t want to make too many documentaries. It’s easy get sucked into that in Australia, and you never make drama again.

I’ve also considered doing a feature film about UFO researchers. But maybe there isn’t really the audience for that. I’d enjoy it, though. I feel like I should take another break from UFOs. Although it’s just 31 clips, it’s been a very full-on few months.

ufowatchdog.com: So, Chris, let’s say you’re out and about with your camera one day. You come across the mother of all UFO sightings. This is indeed the most spectacular and amazing thing anyone has ever witnessed. An absolutely true UFO that lands and its occupants come out. You film it in all of its glory. Are you worried that if you come forward with any UFO footage that it will now automatically be suspect or subject to the same skepticism you seem to decry?

Kenworthy: Not as worried as when I see certain things on the news. I think we should be very wary of believing that a moving image depicts reality. The camera lies spectacularly when people want it to lie.

But yes, it does concern me that a genuine case could be dismissed. But if a sighting was that spectacular, you’d have to insist on witness reports, a look at the location, and (all importantly) the original camera tape and the camera. There are about a hundred errors in my footage, deliberate and by accident, which scream FAKE. The sighting you describe above would be as difficult to stage as the Kennedy assassination, and would probably have as many holes. (I’ll expand on this on the website, sooner or later.)

ufowatchdog.com: What would you say to all of the serious UFO researchers out there?

Kenworthy: Thanks for your hard work. Keep at it, and don’t let this project damage your field. Let it make you better at what you do.

ufowatchdog.com: What would you say to the skeptics?

Kenworthy: F**k off. No, just kidding. I’d say, Look before you leap. Examine the evidence, rather than jumping to conclusions.

ufowatchdog.com: What do you think of the ufowatchdog.com website?

Kenworthy: Very cool. I was worried you’d call me Kreepy Bastard Kenworthy, or something like that. Glad of the work you’re doing.

ufowatchdog.com: Chris, I really appreciate your participation in this interview. It saved me from having to create all sorts of nasty names for you…(laughing). We’re reaching the end here, do you have anything you’d like to add at all?

Kenworthy: Thanks for that. I knew from the outset that this would annoy people, but rest assured that I didn’t do this for the thrill of annoying people. I don’t really get off on that. I see the annoyance as an unavoidable side-effect. And I do understand the feelings. I was ready to injure somebody when I found out the Oliver’s Castle video was a fake. But I was much younger…


Watch the original 9 part Podcast via Apple Podcast/iTunes.

Australian UFO Wave

UFOs are being seen every day in Australia.
Some are caught on video. We bring you the proof.

Note: The original interview on ufowatchdog.com appears to have disappeared, so we have reproduced it here. Original story and contents ©2006 ufowatchdog.com