Children and young people from the RAF Benevolent Fund's Airplay youth club at RAF Northolt received a surprise visit from Klay Hall and Traci Balthazor-Flynn, the filmmakers behind the new Disney animated film 'Planes', this week.
The new film, which is set above the world of the hugely successful 'Cars', is due to hit cinemas on 16th August 2013. Disney will also be hosting a special charity screening on behalf of the RAF Benevolent Fund before it goes on general release this summer.
Members of the Airplay group were treated to a sneak preview of some of the highlights of the film followed by a Q&A session with the director and producer, when the children had the opportunity to ask them questions about the creation of the film.
Director, Klay Hall was an aviation enthusiast long before Disney's 'Planes' ever got off the ground. So when Disneytoon Studios invited him to direct a feature film set in the skies, it was a no-brainer.
"I've always loved airplanes," says Hall. "My dad was in the US Navy and his dad was also a pilot. They flew all their lives and passed that love of aviation to me. So when this project came up, I was able to really jump into this universe."
Disney's 'Planes' is an all-new movie inspired by the world of 'Cars' the Disney-Pixar film that first captured moviegoers' hearts in 2006. It tells the tale of a crop duster – aptly named Dusty – who's sure he's capable of more than taking care of crops.
Klay commented on the Q&A afterwards, saying, "The kids were enthusiastic, they were funny and they seemed to be really engaged. And the questions were really thought-provoking. It was a lot of fun to be a part of."
Eleven year old Luke, whose mother is a Squadron Leader at RAF Northolt, said: "When I was younger I loved the film 'Cars'. I watched it so much that even Mummy could recite sections of the movie. So when Mummy said that I was going to have the chance to meet with Klay who made the new Disney film Planes that was very special."
"Mummy was in the RAF when I was born so I have always grown up around planes of all different types, so it was really great to see that in his movie there were characters which looked like those different planes. The bits we got to see were totally awesome; I can't wait to see the whole film!"
Paul Hughesdon who, as Director of Welfare at the RAF Benevolent Fund runs the Airplay programme, said: "We are delighted that The Walt Disney Company has chosen the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund as a charity partner for the launch of its new film 'Planes'.
"This is really exciting, especially as there is such a strong connection between the film's theme, the RAF's focus on aviation and our support for all members of the RAF family, including children and young people. And what better audience to appreciate the new film than members of one of our Airplay youth clubs!
"We are looking forward to working with Disney to hold a special charity screening for RAF families in London on 11th August as well as organising screenings for other Airplay youth clubs around the country."
Group Captain Andy Bacon, Station Commander RAF Northolt said: "It was wonderful to be able to welcome Klay and his Disney team here to Northolt – their love of all things aviation-related really shone through and their support for the RAF Benevolent Fund was clear.
"This is great news for all those currently serving, and those who have served in the RAF, as the Benevolent Fund does a fantastic job supporting us all. This was a great opportunity to bring to youngsters on the station and was very much appreciated by all."