Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Press Release: Rel Dowdell and "Train Ride"

TRAIN RIDE is a riveting thriller that takes place on an all-Blackcollege campus. Will (Wood Harris of HBOs The Wire. Paid In Full and Remember The Titans) is an upperclassman who, after a night of partying,convinces freshman Katrina (MC Lyte) to stick around and have adrink. What Katrina doesn't realize is the drink has been spikedwith Rohypnol, a drug that renders her unconscious. Soon, Willinvites his two best friends to unknowingly take part in a gangrape--a "Train Ride," that he captures on videotape. Theseactions, combined with the guilt, shame, anger and fear that followtake everyone involved on a different journey destined to spiralout of control...

Train Ride is based on Boston University and Fisk graduate Rel J.Dowdell's award winning short film of the same name. After thesuccess of the short, Rel was courted by a number of Hollywoodplayers to adapt his movie into a feature-length film. It wasn'tlong before Rel was back in his hometown of Philadelphia yelling"Action" on his first feature film. Complications arose andfinishing funds shriveled when bosses at two major studioscommitted to the project, were replaced. Train Ride soon gainedlegendary status within Black independent film circles. Internetbuzz grew. Those that were fortunate enough to see early roughcuts gave it a 10 out of 10 rating on the Internet Movie Database.Curiosity piqued among insiders for this small little movie out ofPhilly that also boasted the late Esther Rolle's final film appearance.

Watching Train Ride in 2005 reveals a still topical well craftedand tastefully treated examination of its topic. Loaded with twistsand turns, it involves audiences and is guaranteed to spurdiscussion, especially among those who share the Black colleg eexperience.

Still in his early 30s, Mr. Dowdell has stayed busy writingscreenplays and teaching others the craft as a professor at BostonUniversity while maintaining residence in Philadelphia. He neverlost faith that his debut feature would see the light of day andthat more doors would open for him. Late last year, Philly's own RUFFNATION FILMS (Snipes) became an angel of sorts, when it acquired allrights to Train Ride. They improved the image added a newsoundtrack and director's commentary. An Official Selection of the 2005 Pan African Film Festival, Train Ride is now slated for DVD release on March 15. REELBLACK PRESENTS will host the Official World Theatrical Premiere in Philadelphia on February 25.

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