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Free aviation movie to be shown at Bemidji Theatre

BEMIDJI – A free movie will be offered Saturday at the Bemidji Theatre for kids interested in learning about aviation.

Spearheaded by Bemidji’s Dave Quam, a 50-minute movie on model airplane flying will be shown at 10 a.m. at the theater, 5284 Theatre Lane NW.

“The idea is to expose kids to aviation to get some aviation interest out there,” Quam said.

Kids, and their parents, can attend the movie free of charge, thanks to a combination of sponsors; concessions will be available at normal prices.

Quam said he believes the movie would be most appropriate for kids aged 9 and up.

After the movie, model airplane pilots will be available to talk with kids and a pilot with the Experimental Aircraft Association, Chapter 1397, will talk about the Young Eagles program, through which local pilots give airplane rides to kids interested in aviation.

“EAA wants to promote aviation to young people, to get them involved (in aviation),” Quam said.

Duane Black, the manager of the Bemidji Theatre, said it’s not extremely unusual to have a group or individual rent out a theater for a private showing.

“But this is something unique as far as the public being invited to watch,” he said. “The world of digital projection has opened up a lot of different options.”

Quam said he grew up in Grand Forks, N.D., where you could save 10 milk-bottle tops to cover movie admittance or attend one of the local theater’s free-movie offerings on certain Saturdays.

He wanted to do something similar here.

After shooting a high-definition movie on model-airplane flying, he tested the film on the Bemidji Theatre’s equipment.

“I was shaking with excitement,” he said, noting that the picture is “superb.” “There are sounds in there … birds … that I didn’t even know were there.”

The North Country Model Controllers, Aircorps Aviation, RP Broadcasting and EAA Chapter 1397 are sponsoring the event.

“If it goes great, we’ll do it again and again (offer free movies), but they will be aviation-related,” Quam said.