February 11, 2013
By Dan Namowitz
A first-of-its-kind aviation film festival will mark the grand reopening of the giant-screen theater of the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, from April 11 through 14.
The First Annual Reel Stuff of Aviation film festival will offer feature films, documentaries, and broadcast programming—each presented by a filmmaker or historian connected with the production.
The 400-seat theater has been closed while undergoing an $800,000 renovation project to provide the latest digital projection technology. It is scheduled to reopen March 1. The film festival in April will serve as the “public grand reopening,” said the nonprofit Air Force Museum Foundation’s announcement.
Patrons of the festival “will be among the very first to enjoy a new state-of-the-art theater experience featuring a digital image projection system, an amped up 7.1 surround sound system with 20 speakers, and a towering new six-story screen,” said the announcement. Other renovations include “new seats, carpeting and a presentation stage ideal for Reel Stuff’s interactive screening format.”
As of early February, confirmed screenings included the Midwest premier of First in Flight, producer Tara Tucker and director Brandon Hess’s Wright brothers dramatization. A digitally remastered version of Wings, the late William Wellman’s 1927 silent classic and the first film to win an Oscar for Best Picture, will be screened and presented by Wellman’s son, actor, and historian William Wellman Jr.
Paramount Pictures’ Top Gun 3D will be screened and presented by the film’s aerial cinematographer, Clay Lacy, and Barry Sandrew of Legend3D, which converted the 1986 film into its high-definition, giant-screen 3-D format. Producer Catherine Wyler will present her 1990 Warner Brothers film Memphis Belle and the documentary with the same name that was produced during World War II by her late father, Oscar-winning director William Wyler.
Festival tickets and passes go on sale Feb. 15 online or by calling 937/253-4629. General admission tickets for individual daytime screenings cost $8 per person; evening showings cost $15 per person. Full-day discount passes, good for all screenings that day, cost $35 for Friday, April 12; $45 for Saturday, April 13; and $25 for Sunday, April 14.
Full-festival passes are available for $90 and provide admission for one person to each screening Friday through Sunday—a savings of more than $25 over general admission prices. Corporations and individuals interested in festival sponsorship should contact Reel Stuff Film Festival Director Ron Kaplan at 937/212-8847, or Air Force Museum Foundation Chief Development Officer Lin Erickson at 937/656-9258.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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