"Rad" reunion and documentary planned
Seattle, Wash. area filmmaker Marc Dewey, a self-professed "addict" of the 1986 cult BMX film "Rad," is currently creating a retrospective documentary on the film. Titled "A Radrospective: A Documentary About the BMX Film Rad," Dewey is in the process of securing funds to complete the project in time for the 25th anniversary celebration of "Rad," hosted in the town that served as the filming backdrop for "Rad," Cochrane, Alberta, Canada on August 19-21, 2011.
Although Dewey only witnessed a bootleg copy of the BMX race and freestyle-inspired film several years ago, he immediately understood the significance of the film to BMX, which was a box office failure but later became a cult classic.
"This film has a historical significance for helping to put the sport of BMX on the map," says Dewey, who has enlisted the help of Kickstarter.com to raise funds for the documentary in progress.
After viewing the film, Dewey began researching the background of "Rad," and was surprised to learn that the film was never officially released on DVD or Blu-Ray. "I was bummed and immediately began researching what the holdup was," says Dewey. Dewey soon stumbled onto an online petition to have the film issued on DVD, and through further research, learned that the film was entangled in rights issues and had passed through studio hands several times to the point that the no one knew who actually owned the film.
Then, by chance, Dewey and his brother visited a BMX race in Shasta Lake, Calif.
"It was there that we struck upon the idea of a "Rad" reunion. What if we could organize an event to bring "Helltrack" back to the town of Cochrane? Not only could it be a huge draw for the BMX community, but for families and fans of the film alike. We immediately started brainstorming different events we could have: a huge BMX race, a freestyle competition, a bike show, autograph booths, a costume/prop display, a big parade, T-shirt making, screenings of the film...the possibilities were endless," said Dewey.
"I also thought it would be great to create a documentary to see what everyone from the film is up to now and get first-hand stories about the making of the film. Then I could premiere it at the event or who knows, get it on the DVD if it were ever made. At the very least, I knew this much attention to the film would be enough to convince those in charge to get this thing released. That really is the ultimate goal," he continues.
Immediately, Dewey went to work, securing the help of the Cochrane Chamber of Commerce, as well as Jeremy Moser, who runs The Movie Rad Web site and worked on the movie. "[Jeremy] was the one who really made the public announcement on his site. Since then, it's just exploded on the Internet and there's a lot of interest. It's amazing how many other people out there have been influenced by this movie, especially at a young age. It's really exciting to see all that happen from one silly idea my brother and I had," said Dewey.
In the fall of 2010, Dewey traveled to the 40 Years of BMX Cyclebration in Long Beach, Calif. to start work on the documentary. "We met with Jeremy at his booth and waited to see who would show up. It was amazing, one after another, BMX riders that appeared in "Rad" just started arriving: Eddie Fiola and Martin Aparijo, Danny Millwee, Kevin Hull, Mike Miranda, and even Bill Allen (Cru Jones) showed up for a couple hours. Luckily, they were all gracious enough to take the time to give interviews."
Despite the progress made, Dewey still had a long road ahead.
"I was really hoping to get the other actors, but had no luck getting through. So now I'm stuck with several really great interviews but not really enough to make a comprehensive documentary. I'm starting to realize how hard it is to get something like this done completely on my own. Not to mention the legal nightmare of getting the rights to use footage from the film, since nobody seems to know who even owns it," says Dewey.
"I would really like to speak with the rest of the riders from the film, and as many of the cast and crew that I can get. I just hope actors like Talia Shire and Lori Loughlin don't disregard this film simply because it didn't do well commercially. You really have to look beyond that at the larger fan base and how many people the movie has touched," Dewey concludes.
Currently, the documentary remains a work in progress, but Dewey needs to secure additional funding to complete the project. "That's why I'm asking for help from other fans or generous donors who'd like to see this get made, because I can't see any other way I'll get this done in time for the event which really is the ultimate goal."
The Rad 25 Celebration will visit Cochrane, Alberta, Canada on August 19-21, and is partnered with the Calgary Underground Film Festival, Rad: The Movie Collection and the Cochrane BMX Association.
Released in 1986 and directed by Hal Needham, "Rad" charts the meteoric rise of a BMX riding paper boy named Cru Jones, who through hard work and determination, rises up to beat national BMX race pros on a track dubbed "Helltrack." The film additionally featured freestyle riding and acting parts from major BMX race and freestyle pros, and has appeared on the pop culture radar through TV shows such as "Tosh.0" and "American Dad."