Blue Air Training is opening up their hangar for a free movie night featuring "The Rock of Gibraltar," which chronicles the police manhunt for criminal mastermind Deacon Marsh in Fort Smith in the 1930s.
The movie was an audience favorite in the Made in Arkansas Film Festival and Fayetteville Film Fest, and won the Fort Smith in Film award at the 2021 Fort Smith International Film Festival.
The film's director, Michael Pharis, who grew up in Van Buren, said he's a fan of Fort Smith history, as well as gangster movies of the 1930s and 1940s.
"We're fortunate we have several historical buildings and our city's been great at trying to preserve those buildings," he said. "The owners were wonderful and grateful for letting us shoot and the antique cars that were donated allowed us to sell the period in a way that I (otherwise) could not have."
Pharis described the movie as a classic good-versus-evil story set in a gangster, police chase movie inspired by old-timey black-and-white movies.
"(It's about) the persistence of good triumphing over evil and for all of us trying to do good things and treat other people, do the right thing," he said. "It's Bogart meets 'The Godfather.'"
Brandon Chase Goldsmith, executive director Fort Smith International Film Festival, said the audience won't see anything like this at a big movie chain.
"It's a Fort Smith-made film, with Fort Smith people," he said. "When you're watching this film, you're going to recognize the locations, you're going to recognize the faces on the screen, and the final scene of the movie happens in an airplane hangar. It all came together when we were thinking about this and we were like, 'This is the perfect movie for that!'"
Blue Air Training provides high-quality close air support training to joint terminal attack controllers (JTAC) and warfighters from around the world. At the simplest level, JTAC is the person who calls in airstrikes and surface fires like artillery and mortars.
John "Slick" Wright, Fort Smith site lead, said their training facility supports every Air National Guard JTAC in the country at Razorback Range on Fort Chaffee.
"We are hosting this event to let the community know we are here, what we do, and how we are impacting the local community," he said. "The relationship with the 188th and Razorback range staff has been fantastic. We want to celebrate Fort Smith while also supporting local businesses.”
Goldsmith said it's great that people can finally get together again and "movies are a great place for that to happen, especially movies in an airplane hangar."
The hangar doors will open at 5 p.m. Saturday with food, drinks and short films available. "The Rock of Gibraltar" will start at 7 p.m.
This article originally appeared on Fort Smith Times Record: Free movie showing at Blue Air Training Facility