Spielberg knows what he saw in UFO documentary

Steven Spielberg Pentagon 1999
Director Steven Spielberg speaking at the Pentagon in 1999 (image credit: pentagon./gov/photod)

James Fox is almost gleeful. The world famous film director and producer Steven Spielberg has viewed James Fox’s documentary, “I Know What I Saw,” through a mutual friend and commented on it in a letter.

In a career spanning more than four decades, Spielberg has to his credit such UFO-related great films as Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial (1982), The War of the Worlds (2005) and the mini-series Taken (2002), among many others.

Fox is now in receipt of the letter, but cannot make the comments public as of yet. Fox said he’s in touch with Spielberg’s publicist, “who would be happy to let that happen.” But the publicist said when Spielberg was asked about going public with the letter his response was, “Not at this time.” In return, Fox’s reply was, “There won’t be a better time.”

“Let’s suffice it to say, he’s an advocate of government transparency on the phenomena,” Fox concluded and he will continue to push for permission to publish the contents of the letter because he feels it’s important.

“I Know What I Saw” takes a look at the most credible witnesses from around the world testifying at the National Press Club event in Nov. 2007. According to Fox, the event was coordinated with the help of journalist Leslie Kean, who has secured a publisher and is now writing the book version of the movie.

The documentary explores reasons behind government secrecy from those involved at the highest level. One good example is Fife Symington, governor of Arizona at the time of the 1997 Phoenix Lights event, who in the documentary states that Air Force generals, astronauts, military and commercial pilots, government and FAA officials from seven countries tell stories that “will challenge your reality.”

ET poster (image credit: Universal © 1982 & 2002)

Old and New Dreams

James Fox in Texas
James Fox covering the Stephenville, Texas, UFO flap (image credit: Angelia Joiner)

When he was a boy Fox had other dreams. He wanted to be a racecar driver and he even attended racing school when he was 20 years-old, breaking the lap record the very first day he raced. But, afterwards he traveled to Europe, learned French and decided there was a lot more to the world than going round and round a track.

He turned his attention toward his creative side and learned all he could about filmmaking.

It takes more than blood, sweat and tears to make a movie according to Fox; namely, money, tenacity and an ability to overcome obstacles at every turn.

Four years in the making, Fox, now in his late thirties, sold the new film to the History Channel in October. It was a decision he was not extremely happy with, but felt he had no choice with investors breathing down his neck to get their monies back.

“They were very difficult to work with towards the end,” Fox said. “We had a decent offer and I had to take it. If I had had my way, I would have gone the film festival circuit and got it out that way.”

He became interested in UFOs after speaking with two friends, one of which he had the utmost respect. He’s never looked back.

Early on, his dad, Charles Fox, an accomplished journalist who has been published in Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated and Playboy, among others discouraged his work and told his son he was going down a dead-end road.

But, upon accompanying Fox to interview U.S. astronaut Gordon Cooper, an icon of Charles’ time, he sang a different tune. Cooper is featured in the documentary and relates a detailed account of a UFO landing in a dry lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base in California in the 1950s.

Fox said of his father that it was his turning point, “He was sold.”

“He recently told me he was very proud of me and the work I’ve done,” Fox said. “That means a lot to me.”

James’s father is a quadriplegic (wheelchair bound) from being stricken with multiple sclerosis.

“When I was younger, I used to drive him around to his interviews and played nurse and helped him anyway I could,” Fox said. “Then it all turned around and he was going with me to my interviews.”

He further commented, that the new film is really a compilation of 12 years of work because it includes clips from “Out of the Blue,” his second film on the subject of UFOs, which was aired in 2003.

Some of the panelists at the National Press Club event in 2007. From left: Nick Pope, Jim Penniston, Col. Charles Halt, James Callahan (image credit:

Money Matters and New Perspectives

The last two weeks of production were harrowing and a very unpleasant experience for James Fox. Just a few days before broadcast, two high ranking military officers demanded to be taken out of the film if they weren’t paid very large sums of money.

He was overwhelmed with the demands and declined to name names, saying he just wanted to put the situation behind him. He also declined to say how the situations were resolved.

“That was just one of the many things I had to deal with,” Fox said. “They got the impression I was making millions off their stories, which is not the case. These two represented less than two-percent of the movie. It’s like the story of fishing in the sea. By the time everyone gets a little nibble and you get it reeled in, there’s nothing left.”

The sale to the History Channel left Fox with about $20,000. And, in the last weeks he had to come up with $55,000 to finish the “deliverables” on the film. With the investors dried up and upset after Fox went $200,000 over on an original budget agreement of half a million for the film, he put his cherished BMW up to secure a loan from his neighbor. “We were down to the wire trying to scrape up money,” Fox added.

Since now the History Channel only has the high definition version of the movie and has rights to air the movie in the U.S. and Canada for five years. James is working on getting both the one-hour and two-hour versions of the film into standard definition and then the channel, he said, will begin broadcasting the film more often.

Fox said, “I’m meeting with some very influential people soon to help promote the movie.”

And, more good news is coming down the pike. Fox recently sent the film to MIPCOM in Cannes, France, where industry leaders converge annually in October to shop for content.

“My agent there says we have 88 territories interested in requisition,” Fox said. “I’m told 40 territories would be considered successful.”

Fox also said to keep abreast of the Larry King Live show.

“We had a great show lined up and then Michael Jackson died,” Fox said. “That put a hold on everything while they covered it.”

“We have something in the works with King that involves some pretty cool stuff,” Fox said. “I will be able to say more in a couple of weeks.”

We’re all in your corner James, and we’ll be anxiously awaiting your news.

You can read Open Minds I Know What I Saw reviewby Antonio Huneeus.

Angelia Joiner

As a staff writer for the Stephenville Empire-Tribune, Angelia was the principal reporter covering the sightings in and around Stephenville, Texas in January of 2008, appearing on CNN's Larry King Live, Coast-to-Coast, and many other media programs. In 2007, Angelia earned two second place awards from the West Texas Press Association for feature writing and special coverage. After leaving the Empire Tribune, Angelia continues to cover UFOs through her radio show, The Joiner Report, at, freelance writing, and her website

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  1. What exciting news! I can’t wait to see if James is able to get Mr. Spielberg to release the contents of his letter. I credit “E.T.” with helping to spark my interest in Ufology and Astrobiology when I was young, and would be interested to hear what Mr. Spielberg had to say about James’ film.

  2. Angelia Joiner has again complied a leading article on the UFO/ET reality.

    One day very soon her perspective, journalistic savy and insights will be front page news.

  3. I agree with Mr.Viggiani. The surface of her talents on this topic, as well as others, has only been pricked! Informative, factual, and an interesting read regarding James Fox’s efforts to enlighten others on happenings around us.

  4. Very good article, Angelia! I, too, am looking forward to James and Steven releasing the letter to the public, however, I understand Steven’s reluctance to do so. Please keep us informed as to when James will be on Larry King Live. I wish James the best of luck getting more screen time for “I Know What I Saw”.

  5. Hi Angelia,

    Shawn and I appreciate what James Fox has done. This gentleman has made a choice in life that has little rewards with our sensate culture. He is to be applauded. His work as an anthologist should be recognized with the sacrifices he has made. My brother and I understand all too well what this entails. Unfortunately for us both my mother and father are deceased. Shawn and I often wonder what they would say with our research and investigation with this sublime topic. Mr. Fox is truly a lucky man to have a reflective such as his father. We do not say this lightly.

    We know you are aware of our story concerning our Navy source. It has been very trying to both of us and even to our source. However, the reward is knowing that ET exists and that another reality is there for taking if we wish to seize it. We, like James, are not after money or BMWs. In fact, my brother and I live in sub-standard conditions to the American dream. We don’t have two nickels to rub together, and like most New Yorkers live on top of each other. This phenomena is not about material wealth, but of the spiritual kind at the end of the day. The kind which finally proves we are not alone; and hopefully, one day everyone will experience what James has put forth – “Seeing is believing.” We mean contact. This is what we are after.

  6. Although I find Fox’s documentaries very engaging, no documentary is going to force or persuade any government to disclose the true nature of the UFO phenomenon, the non-human aspect of it. There are too many human UFOs out there that they don’t want to disclose on.

  7. I live in Phoenix & I saw the Phoenix Lights. So when I turned on the History Channel and Fox’s documentary started I stayed glued for the two hours. I’d have to say it was the most credible presentation of the UFO topic I have ever seen.

  8. I remain very impressed with Mr. Fox’s perserverance in trying to cover subject matter that’s not easily condensed but many might appreciate if they became acquainted with it; and, perhaps researched the evidence for themselves. I’m shocked quite frankly, in reading where high ranking military officers expected to be paid for simply being a part of an effort to bring information more out into the public view. If it were me, I think I would have excluded them entirely because there’s much more at issue here than their individual concerns for money. I am retired enlisted military and am offended.

    I fully concur with other comments where Mr. Fox receives some kudos. Mr. Fox’s efforts on a very complex issue produces very little rewards and I look forward to similiar projects in the not too distant future, hoping that he remains just as focused and as dedicated. What we, as the audience, don’t fully appreciate, are all the varied and numerous hurdles that Mr. Fox has tried to overcome in producing what he has.

    To Mr. Fox, thank you for your efforts, objective appoach and quality presentations. Here’s to continued success. And a special thank you to the History Channel.

  9. I once viewed a TV documentary on UFOs that had a short bite about an individual who claimed he had access to info from another individual (I know a doubtful chain develops) who was connected to NATO; this individual said there was ultra secret NATO documents on file that alledged that we(our planet) were being studied by no less than 11 extraterestial entities. I know documentaries have explored various countries regarding UFO evidence, has anyone pursued records held by NATO?


  10. I just saw “I know what I saw” and thought that I’d see if you were interested in a sighting that I had in Alaska (after the JAL report) I was at 41000′ flying a corporate jet. I helped two airliner’s see it, as well. They were at 39,000’and 35,000′, as I recall. This was in the late 80’s. The exact date can be determined. I notified the FAA and the Air Force Base upon landing in Anchorage. The AF had sent up two F-4s to intercept, we saw them but by the time that they got there, the thing had disappeared or left so fast that it appeared to shrink into nothing. We watched it for about 45 minutes and when the Center said that they were going to scramble the F-4s, DC-10 and a Flying Tiger’s B-747. Their crews saw it as well.
    I have not discussed this with many people but MUFTA or something like that called me from Alaska and said that a documentary outfit out of New York wanted to interview me last year but they didn’t show up.I have been retired for a few years so the FAA should no longer be able to screw me over


  11. My husband is an inventor and is currently working on hydrogen power. There is use for this in propulsion in outer space as there is not enough room for fuel for space travel at this time. Hydrogen uses and produces power from water, with a slight loss of water. I believe UFO’s visit earth for one thing, water for propulsion. They do not wish to make contact or want to, they just need water and we are on the map.

  12. Angela:

    We loved your candidness in “I Know What I Saw.” You were a fresh face and wholly open-minded on this important matter. Thank you for being you.

    We hope that James Fox will make another film to follow “I Know What I Saw” and delve even deeper into the phenomena of the ages.

    Peace and good wishes,

    Nick (and brother Mike) Campbell

  13. I am presently watching “I know what I saw” for the 50th time at least and have no reservations on the subject after seeing a ufo in Bendigo Victoria Australia back in August 2009. Although I didn’t have a camera with me, I did manage to get a bearing to the craft. After doing a magnetic to grid conversion and a topographical overlay on a map of the area I would have to agree to a certian extent with Bonnie Evans about their need for water as it spent a good 10 minutes hovering above one of the local lakes. Please pass my e-mail to Mr. Fox if that is at all possible as I am funding my own investigation and expedition into an area of Australia at the end of this year that he may be interested in if he intends to do a follow up on the subject. Understandably I do not want to disclose any more where others can read what I am doing, but after seeing what I saw, and the 10 years of research and planning that has gone into this expediton I think he may be interested in what I have learned and hope to discover. We all need to push this subject more into the pulic light regardless of consequenses both socially and politically. There is more going on than we are aware of and it is time for answers. I hope to provide some regardless of the risk to myself. My hat is off to you James Fox, You are a pioneer.Cheers to the believers.

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