Moment of Contact Review: James Fox Spotlights Brazil’s Roswell

Mark Twain famously said, “A lie can travel around the world and back again while the truth is lacing up its boots.” And anyone living in the internet age has witnessed this first-hand. People refuse to swallow bitter truths and cold hard facts when sweet and juicy conspiracy theories go down so easy.

We live in an era when anything seems possible, and yet nothing can be taken at face value.

So how are we supposed to process the events in director James Fox’s new film, Moment of Contact? Fox’s latest UFO documentary seeks to get to the bottom of Brazil’s very own Roswell incident. It’s a lot to wrap your mind around, and even the film’s director admits dismissing the story after first hearing about it.

But in the last few years, former Presidents, ex-CIA directors, and the Pentagon have admitted that UFOs/UAPs exist and warrant military investigations.


Expecting viewers to go along with this story is a big ask. But if anyone is up for getting to the bottom of this case, it’s Fox. The veteran documentary filmmaker has spent the last 25 years doggedly pursuing the truth behind the UFO mystery.

His last film, 2020’s The Phenomenon, is the gold standard for UFO investigation documentaries. So, if Fox is willing to put his reputation on the line chasing such an extraordinary story, I’m willing to listen.

On January 20th, 1996, something strange took place in Varginha, Brazil. To be fair, strange undersells what’s become one of the most storied cases in ufology. In the days leading up to the infamous event, locals reported seeing a wingless cylindrical craft go down in the Varginha countryside.

On the 20th, three sisters were heading home in the afternoon when they encountered what they describe as an otherworldly being. The small humanoid creature was covered in an oily substance and stunk of sulfur and ammonia. After looking into its large red eyes, the young women believed they were face-to-face with a demon, and fled home.


Soon after, local law enforcement and the Brazilian military descended on the scene. They chased locals away at gunpoint as they locked down the neighbourhood in search of the being.

This documentary presents viewers with a lot to chew on.

First off, Brazil’s Roswell is a fitting title. There’s an alleged UFO crash, reports of alien survivors, and witnesses who claim the military threatened them to remain silent. What separates Varginha from Roswell is how recently the encounter took place. Unlike Roswell, most of the people who experienced whatever happened in 1996 are still alive. The sisters who reported seeing the being are only in their 40’s.

Fox does a thorough job tracking down leads and getting key figures to go on the record. He interviews witnesses who say they saw the craft and handled the wreckage, as well as military personnel who claim to have transported an alien body.


The documentary features some of the most respected names in ufology. A. J. Gevaerd is the Brazilian authority on UFOs, and he brings his decades of experience to the investigation. Brazil has a rich history of mind-bending UFO encounters. So if Moment of Contact grabs your interest, you’ll definitely want to check out Gevaerd’s extensive body of work.

It’s no spoiler to say Moment of Contact doesn’t provide a smoking gun. And honestly, short of a live alien being, what would convince skeptics this event happened as described by witnesses? However, Fox makes a compelling case that something extraordinary happened by corroborating accounts from multiple perspectives.

Had this event happened in the internet age it would be easier to dismiss the witness testimony. Nowadays, potential witnesses are just a social media post away from having their perspectives tainted by what someone else reported. But in 1996, how do you account for multiple unrelated witnesses reporting a wingless, cigar-shaped craft billowing white smoke? That doesn’t mean they saw a craft from another world. What are the odds they both misidentified a satellite or hoaxed the story.

Fox uses ariel footage and digital recreations to map out the crash/encounter timelines. Again, there’s no one piece of damning evidence, but it’s difficult to dismiss how many witness accounts fit together like Lego bricks.


It’s mighty suspicious the military locked-down the neighbourhood so soon after the young women reported seeing the creature. Throw in the testimony from the military personnel handling the search for the alleged creature, and this wild story gets harder to dismiss. Fox expertly brings the chain of events into focus, carving out a solid case something out of the ordinary took place.

It helps that Fox’s long-time collaborator Peter Coyote narrates the doc. Look up the word gravitas in the dictionary and Coyote’s picture shows up. His steady, gravelly delivery provides the story an air of authority. It’s a welcome departure from the manipulative sensationalizing on display in all too many paranormal investigation docs.

Whereas The Phenomenon took a measured, only-the-facts approach to covering UFO history, Moment of Contact sees Fox add some dramatic flair. The film follows Fox’s boots-on-the-ground investigation as he uncovers new details about the case.

The vibe feels part Law & Order and part All the Presidents Men, with a hint of UFO Hunters. I half-expected to see Fox hovering over a pin-board connecting witness accounts with red thread.


At times the investigation adds a little too much reality TV showmanship for my liking, but this investigative reporter style works more often than it doesn’t. Ultimately, Fox spotlights the most important detail of any UFO case: the human element.

Fox manages to capture some powerful sequences showing witnesses unburdening their souls. One man refuses to go on camera, but then spews detail after detail about his sighting like he has verbal diarrhea. You can feel how he’s been holding this story in, yearning to get it off his chest.

Another man breaks into tears after returning to the scene of his encounter. Again, these aren’t crisis actors playing it up for the camera. These are regular folks who have spent the past 25 years struggling to make sense of what they experienced. Regular people can’t fake that kind of outpouring of emotions.

I don’t know what happened in Varginha Brazil in 1996, and maybe I never will. But I’m certain something major took place. I recently spoke with Fox about Moment of Contact, and he told me the most precious thing in this world is time, and he wouldn’t spend years investigating this story if he didn’t believe it was true. That conviction shows in every frame of the movie.

Fox’s investigation elevates the Varginha case above all the urban legends making the rounds on UFO Twitter. Fox put in the work, travelling to Brazil, tracking down witnesses, and speaking with military personnel who experienced the events first-hand.

Fox has once again delivered a thought-provoking work examining a taboo topic with staggering implications. It’s a film that will wow you, thrill you, and maybe even send you into an existential crisis.

Fox doesn’t definitively solve the case, but that doesn’t mean he failed his mission (despite what folks on UFO Twitter have to say). Life isn’t so black and white, and the answers to the UFO mystery exist in the murkiest shade of gray.

Moment of Contact calls attention to an explosive mystery behind a military coverup. Spotlighting the Varginha story only furthers the journey towards transparency. Before extinguishing a raging fire, somebody has to ring the alarm.