Ron Clements. (KSCJ photo)

A Sioux City native who’s been an animator, scriptwriter, director, and producer for Disney films is back in his hometown this weekend for a special showing of his animated movie “Aladdin.”

The Sioux City Symphony will perform the film’s soundtrack as the movie is screened Saturday night. Ron Clements is a 1971 graduate of Sioux City Bishop Heeland High School and he spoke to students at the school today. “I saw that the old Heeland High School that I went to isn’t here any more, but it’s been replaced with a great, great new school so that’s really fun,” Clements said. “…I lived on Douglas Street, just like almost a block from Heelan High School and two blocks from Epiphany Grade School.”

That’s where Clements attended elementary classes.

Clements worked in the creative department at Channel 9 TV in Sioux City before he moved to California in 1973. He was 20 years old when he started working at Disney Studios in January of 1974.

“That was a dream come true for me. That was my aspiration when I first saw ‘Pinocchio,'” Clements said. “I saw it at the Orpheum Theater when I was nine.”

The Orpheum is where “Aladdin” will be screened Saturday night. “The last time I was here they showed ‘Moana’ in that theater, so it was kind of a little bit coming full circle,” Clements says. “And now seeing Aladdin with the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra in that theater and they’ve done such a beautiful, beautiful job of restoring that.”

Clements was a scriptwriter for “Moana” and co-director of the 2016 movie. Aladdin was released in 1992. Clements was a producer/director and writer on that film as well.

Clements, who is retired, worked for Disney for 45 years and is credited with leading a renaissance for Disney with the concept and then production of “The Little Mermaid.” Clements said it’ll be an emotional experience Saturday to hear the symphony perform “Aladdin’s” music while the movie is shown.

(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)

Radio Iowa