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Film and flight geeks unite! Air Force Museum launches aviation film festival

Feb 09, 2013 1:03 pm

Skift Take

The is the first time the aviation-themed festival will have a permanent home, which will help build its reputation with AV geeks and film buffs who come for insight into aerial filmmaking.

— Samantha Shankman

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Tom Cruise in Top Gun, the quintessential flight film. Vimeo


The film festival scene in the Miami Valley continues to grow. The folks at the Air Force Museum Foundation have announced plans to inaugurate an annual Reel Stuff Film Festival of Aviation, dubbed “a cinematic celebration of flight.” The weekend event, slated for April 11-14, will also serve as the public grand re-opening of the museum’s 400-seat giant-screen theater, currently undergoing an $800,000 renovation.

The annual festival, which has its roots in similar festivals produced locally by Ron Kaplan, will include a variety of flight-related feature films as well as documentaries and broadcast programming. Each screening will be accompanied by a filmmaker or historian who has ties to the production as well as a Q&A session with the audience.

The new theater, formerly used for I-Max presentations, is being developed in partnership with D3D Cinema. It will feature a digital image projection system, an amped up 7.1 surround sound system with 20 speakers, and a six-story screen. It also has new seats, new carpeting and a presentation stage.

Already scheduled for the upcoming festival is the Midwest premiere of “First in Flight” produced by Tara Tucker and directed by Brandon Hess. The Wright Brothers dramatization was the first film to win a Best Picture Oscar. Other films on the schedule include “Wings,” the late William Wellman’s 1927 silent classic, which has been digitally remastered and will be introduced by his son — actor and historian William Wellman Jr.

Paramount Pictures’ “Top Gun 3D,” will be presented by the film’s aerial cinematographer, Clay Lacy, as well as Barry Sandrew, founder and CCO/CTO of Legend3D, which has converted the 1986 film into a high-definition, giant-screen 3D format. Producer Catherine Wyler will present her 1990 Warner Brothers film, “The Memphis Belle,” and the documentary of the same name by her late father, Oscar-winning director William Wyler, which he produced during World War II. It’s appropriate to the local festival because the original Memphis Belle B-17 Flying Fortress featured in Wyler’s 1944 film is currently undergoing restoration at the museum.

Tickets and passes will go on sale Feb. 15 and are available by contacting theatre@afmuseum.com or by calling (937) 253-4629. General admission tickets for individual daytime screenings are $8 per person, and $15 per person for evening shows. Full-day discount passes, good for all screenings on that day, are also available; $35 for Friday, $45 for Saturday, and $25 for Sunday. Full festival passes are available for $90, providing admission for one person to each screening on Friday through Sunday, a savings of more than $25 over general admission prices.

For more about the festival, see www.airforcemuseum.com/reelstuff.

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