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

I have a fondness for documentaries. They teach us, they move us, and they change our worldview. “Ariel Phenomenon” does all of these simultaneously. Even skeptics will have a hard time scoffing at the idea that these children saw … something … that wasn’t part of the everyday world.

Director Randall Nickerson’s film will hook you from the get-to and stay with you long after the credits roll.

It’s possible you already have heard about this incident:

It was in September 1994 that a group of children ages 6-12 at the Ariel School in Ruwa, Zimbabwe, were playing outdoors. Inside, a staff meeting was under way.

The kids saw a disc-shaped, metallic craft come from the sky and land in the nearby woods.

The two beings that emerged from the craft, say those who saw them, wore black suits and moved in an odd way. The students who locked eyes with the beings – and you’ll hear them describe those eyes – could not look away.

The kids ran, screaming, to get the grownups, who did not believe them. But when the children were separated from each other and asked to draw what they saw, they drew the same image of a disc and small beings with large heads.

The children’s reports made the BBC, and UFO experts arrived to investigate and talk with the kids. More than 60 of the students saw … whatever it was.

Now, decades later, the now-grownup witnesses remember the same events. One of them, Emily Trim, returns to the school to share and relive her memories. Through her, we realize how difficult it must have been – must be  – for some of the young witnesses, some of whom to this day have not shared what they saw with loved ones.

This could make some viewers uncomfortable and shocked. But it left me inspired and awestruck, and that’s how I hope it leaves you.

4 stars

Not rated.

Running time: One hour and 40 minutes.

To rent or purchase “Ariel Phenomenon,” visit here.

Watch the trailer here.