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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS Feed Tuskegee Airmen exhibit enthralls as it educates

By BARBARA A. SCHMITZ
Redtail
An exhibit attendee views the wrap-around screen of the new Red Tail Squadron exhibit.

A new traveling exhibit tells more than the story of the Tuskegee Airmen: It encourages youth to meet challenges head-on and to rise above adversity to succeed.

The Commemorative Air Force’s Red Tail Squadron RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit is on ConocoPhillips Plaza near the Sea Stallion.

Doug Rozendaal, project leader of Red Tail, said the traveling exhibit was completed in time to debut at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2011. The 53-foot trailer with double slide-outs creates a 24-foot by 40-foot movie theater inside with 170-degree screen. Still scented with that “new car” smell, the air-conditioned space includes bench seating to accommodate about 40 adults while watching the story of the Tuskegee Airmen.

During AirVenture, a 13-minute film is shown continually, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A 35-minute film has also been produced for schools, Rozendaal said.

There is no charge to see the film, but you need to sign up at one of several nearby kiosks.

Additionally, the Red Tail Squadron’s P-51C Mustang is also on display and will fly Thursday.

“A lot of people had input into this exhibit,” Rozendaal said. “We wanted to do more than just the airplane hook or the Tuskegee Airmen story. The objective is really to get youth to think how they can rise above adversity in their own lives.”

Filmmaker Adam White, with Hemlock Films, said the exhibit is really the first mobile IMAX theater. Texas Flying Legends agreed to fund the exhibit in April, giving White little time to create, film, and edit the movie for July’s premiere at Oshkosh.

It was difficult, with bad weather pushing some of the photo shoots back 1-1/2 weeks.

White’s goal for the documentary was to educate viewers while also immersing them in the visuals and story.

Producer Kara Martinelli said RISE ABOVE was a fun film to produce. “The best part of the film was spending time with Col. Charles McGee while shooting; he’s got fantastic stories and is a fantastic man.”

But shooting the aerials while in a B-25 was also amazing. “It was breath-taking. I’ve never seen a formation flight so close.”

The film is getting the response she hoped for. “I was watching the film yesterday while one of the Tuskegee Airmen was also watching. He would yell out the names of the airmen in the archival footage, and said it was great.”

Two other Hemlock Films—Red Tail Reborn and Restorers—are also playing in the EAA AirVenture Museum theater during AirVenture.

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