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Classic movies, star presenters attract fans for inaugural Reel Stuff Film Festival of Aviation

  • Published
  • Air Force Museum Foundation
A rare opportunity to view classic American aviation movies in a technologically advanced theatre environment is attracting film and flying buffs from across the U.S. to the Air Force Museum Theatre in Dayton, for its First Annual Reel Stuff Film Festival of Aviation on April 12-14.

The theatre recently underwent an $800,000 upgrade and will celebrate its grand reopening by hosting eleven unique screening events over the three days of Reel Stuff. Theatre upgrades include installation of dual 4K projectors along with 7.1-plus surround sound, in addition to new carpeting, seats and a presentation stage. Each film will be presented by someone closely associated with its creation such as a producer, director, or cinematographer, and shown on the theatre's new 80 foot wide screen. Two of the festival's feature films are credited with attracting patrons coming from as far as California, Colorado and Wisconsin since tickets became available on February 15.

On Friday, April 13, Reel Stuff will present a digitally re-mastered version of the 1927 Paramount classic, WINGS, which won the first ever Oscar for 'Best Picture.' WINGS remains an industry milestone for its director, the late William "Wild Bill" Wellman's, use of new camera techniques and effects that set the Hollywood standard for decades afterward. The April 12 screening of WINGS is presented by the director's son, actor and author William Wellman, Jr., who wrote The Man and His Wings, a biography of his father and his illustrious filmmaking career.

Another early favorite with Reel Stuff Film Festival fans is TOP GUN 3D, the late director Tony Scott's 1986 blockbuster hit about Navy F-14 pilots that grossed over $350 million worldwide and catapulted actor Tom "Maverick" Cruise to stardom. TOP GUN's rock-and-roll hit score coupled with Scott's distinctive visual style set new creative standards that influence filmmakers to this day. TOP GUN was recently converted from 35mm into digital 3D, earning rave reviews while renewing interest in the iconic film. Reel Stuff presents not one but two rare opportunities for film buffs to experience TOP GUN 3D in its new format on a screen 30 feet larger than any other in the region.

The April 13 screening of TOP GUN 3D will be presented by the original production's famed aerial cinematographer, Clay Lacy, along with Dr. Barry Sandrew, Ph.D., founder/CCO/CTO of Legend3D, the company that converted the original film into 3D for Paramount's limited one-week theatrical run and BluRay release in February. Sandrew's company similarly did the conversion of 3D standouts like TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON and HUGO.

An April 14 "encore" TOP GUN 3D screening will be presented by former real-life "Top Gun" fighter school graduate and five-time Shuttle mission veteran, retired Navy Captain Robert L. "Hoot" Gibson. Gibson is also noted for having deployed with VF-1, the very first squadron to fly F-14 Tomcats in combat in 1974-75. He has over 14,000 hours at the controls of over 130 aircraft types, and will be inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in October 2013.

Seating for these three and eight other film screenings during Reel Stuff is limited, so fans are encouraged to go online to purchase tickets in advance at, or by calling (937) 253-4629. Tickets are on sale now at the Air Force Museum Theatre box office and will be throughout the three-day event. General admission tickets for individual daytime screenings are $8 per person, and $15 per person for evening shows, which includes Sunday's TOP GUN 3D show. Full day discount passes, good for all screenings on that day, are also available; $35 for Friday, $35 for Saturday, and $25 for Sunday. Full Festival passes are available for $90, providing admission for one person to each screening Friday through Sunday.

Corporations and individuals interested in festival sponsorship opportunities contact Reel Stuff Film Festival Director Ron Kaplan at (937) 212-8847 or

The Air Force Museum Theatre is operated by the Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc. Proceeds will allow the non-profit 501(c)(3) foundation to bring this world-class festival to Dayton and help support entertainment and educational programs for patrons throughout the year. The foundation was established in 1960 as a philanthropic, non-profit organization to assist in the development and expansion of the facilities of the National Museum of United States Air Force. The Foundation raises funds through its Museum Store, Air Force Museum Theatre, membership program, flight simulators, and Valkyrie Café, as well as from direct donations. For more information visit

Reel Stuff Aviation Resources LLC is dedicated to supporting non-profit aviation organizations through producing entertaining events and programs that cinematically celebrate the people, wonder, and joy of flight. Reel Stuff founder and director, Ron Kaplan, is past executive director of the National Aviation Hall of Fame, a columnist for Pilot Magazine and Warbird Digest Magazine, and provides research and on-camera services to aviation film and media productions. His work appears on such projects as the Miramax documentary, The Role of Howard Hughes in Aviation History; PBS-TV's Emmy-winning series, Legends of Airpower; and Discovery Channel's Showdown: Air Combat series, among others. For more information visit

NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, please contact Mary Bruggeman, Chief of Theatre Operations, Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc., at (937) 656-9623 or, or Ron Kaplan, Founder & Director, Reel Stuff Film Festival of Aviation, at (937) 212-8847 or