Our History

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“A truly wonderful and inspiring experience” - Cliff Robertson


From the Hosts:

Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc.
“The First Annual Reel Stuff Film Festival, held at the National Museum of the United States Air Force 12-14 April 2013, was a perfect way to inaugurate the newly renovated Air Force Museum Theater. From the quality of the films shown, to the long list of special guest presenters who provided extraordinarily informative and entertaining commentary before and after the screenings, to the many other arrangements surrounding this event, everything was just first class.
Ron Kaplan’s gifts for organization and hosting were evident from start to stop, and were matched only by the stunning visuals and audio delivered by the theatre’s newly installed Barco 4K 3D projection and 20-speaker Dolby 7.1 sound systems.
In the years ahead, I genuinely hope that the Reel Stuff Film Festival becomes an iconic event for aviation film lovers everywhere, and that the Air Force Museum Theatre continues to be its home!”

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Richard V. “Dick” Reynolds, USAF
Chairman, Board of Managers
Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc.


From the Press:

“…films were screened and hosted by some of the nation’s finest filmmakers, Hollywood fliers, an Academy-award winning actor/flier…It was a wonderful, groundbreaking event.”

Flight Journal Magazine
October 2008


“Reel Stuff proved a stunning success, with a second season of great aviation films and personalities already in the works…”

Air Classics Magazine
August 2008


“Reel Stuff Film Festival an aviation/film buff’s dream.  Flying high, spreading its wings- insert your aviation metaphor here – but however you say it, this thing has legs.”

Dayton Daily News
March 7, 2009

From the audience:

“Many thanks for a couple of exciting, informative, heart accelerating, mind stimulating reminiscing days at the Reel Stuff Film Festival!  It was a couple of days I will never forget.”

Richard G.
Dayton, Ohio


“How can the notion of a festival spotlighting the natural pairing of cinema and aviation go un-presented until now?  And how cool is it to be there myself?  Meeting the presenters provided an up close and personal view of the passion, bravery, creativity, drive and love of flying they embody and put into their films.  I predict within as few as four of five years Reel Stuff’s popularity will grow to the point that you won’t be able to find tickets within a few months of the event.”

Chuck K.
Denver, Colorado


“Everything was done with such class.  Excellent job!  I very much enjoyed attending the Reel Stuff Film Festival and look forward to sharing news about the opportunity with others.”

Christina G.
Cleveland, Ohio


“To be in the audience of the first ‘Real Stuff’ and be recognized as the ‘First’ Top Gun by Clay Lacy, who filmed the movie Top Gun with Tom Cruise, was an honor.”

J. Harvey 
Original Tuskegee Airman
USAF’s 1st “Top Gun” – 1949


“Aviation and movies have been competing for my affection my entire life; I’m an airplane geek and a film buff to the core. For me, then, a trip to ‘Reel Stuff’ was like a trip to heaven, without all that pesky dying. The selection of films, from the big-screen classics to the newest undiscovered gems, was brilliant – a pitch-perfect mix of curation and showmanship, and the quality, diversity, and accessibility of the presenters was beyond belief. ‘Reel Stuff’ was both fascinating and fun, and my only complaint is that it doesn’t happen at least once a month!”

Hal B.
Seattle, Washington

From the filmmakers:

“We at Hemlock Films are grateful for Ron Kaplan and his organization, Reel Stuff Film Festival.  In 2010 we had the chance to present a sneak peek of our new aviation series The Restorers.  Reel Stuff was a rare opportunity to showcase our film in a way that no other could.  The event appeared to go off without a hitch, showcasing the independent and big budget aviation production.  Ron and his team were courteous and professional, creating a first-class event for the filmmakers, and the audience at large.”

Adam White, Producer/Director
The Restorers


Barnstorming became a reality because of Reel Stuff. Ron Kaplan believed in it even before it was finished. The response from the Reel Stuff audience to our rough cut was incredible, as was the opportunity to show it among so many other great aviation films. Without question, Reel Stuff launched us.”

Paul Glenshaw, Producer


“After having attended nearly a dozen film festivals, Reel Stuff ranks as one of my top festival experiences.  As a producer, I know how hard it is to make an event run smoothly.  The quality production of Reel Stuff speaks to Ron’s passion for the genre and imminent professionalism.”

Heather Taylor, Producer/Director/Writer
Breaking Through the Clouds:
The First Women’s Air Derby


“Research and realism have always been important elements of the stories we tell and Ron Kaplan has been an invaluable resource in the development of our film. He is extremely knowledgeable regarding aviation and aviation-related events and his professional and personal connections within the world of aviation are seemingly endless. His enthusiasm for sharing this world and his knowledge of it is always impressive.”

Anonymous by request
Entertainment Industry Professional 
(project to be released in 2013)


“What a great reception and memorable night – and super audience – for aviation cinema!  It was my honor to share the Reel Stuff podium with Clay Lacy, who had done his typically amazing aerial IMAX work for our FIGHTER PILOT: Operation Red Flag project.   The Air Force Museum’s IMAX Theater was also the ideal venue for me to present a special ‘sneak peak’ of our new Legends of the Sky at Reel Stuff.  Stephen Low Company appreciates such a high profile showcase.  I hope we can do it again soon.  Bravo!”

Pietro L. Serapiglia, Producer
Stephen Low Company
Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag
Legends of the Sky


“Ron Kaplan is a visionary, not only for coming up with the idea for Reel Stuff, but also for identifying worthwhile projects and fostering them through the auspices of the festival.  I was grateful when Ron offered to show an early rough cut of our documentary The Legend of Pancho Barnes at Reel Stuff, as I suspected it could really help the film.   It turned out to be a terrific boost and created critical ‘buzz’ for our project.

When we won the Emmy award for the show, I ordered a special placard for Ron from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to thank him for believing in and supporting us — I felt he really deserved it.”

Nick Spark, Producer/Writer
The Legend of Pancho Barnes

From the sponsors:

“NetJets was proud to be the Reel Stuff Film Festival’s very first presenting sponsor, and have Rolls-Royce, the Gates Frontiers Fund, and Aviation Partners join us.  We prefer to affiliate with outstanding world-class events that align with our role as a marketplace leader.  Reel Stuff is one of those events, with the benefit of combining two worlds meaningful to us – arts and flying.   A key bonus for NetJets was that Reel Stuff leveraged our investment toward support of an organization with a great aviation mission.  It’s a winning combo for us.”

Richard G. Smith III, Vice President
Presenting Sponsor, 2009 Reel Stuff Film Festival

“Rolls-Royce is a company with a long and diversified aviation heritage, and our sponsorship of the Reel Stuff festivals in Dayton was an ideal way to highlight our 100 years of dedication to the aviation industry. We were very pleased with the exposure and the quality of the total package, especially the personal presentations before each film, and the chance to meet the filmmakers afterward. The icing on the cake was Reel Stuff’s addition of a North American movie premier. We’re proud to say ‘We saw it first at Reel Stuff.’”

Ken Perich
Vice President – Sales and Marketing
Rolls-Royce North America
2008 & 2009 Reel Stuff sponsor