Hell on Wheels takes a from-the-trenches look at the dizzying clash of athleticism, exhibitionism, egos, politics and business that is modern-era roller derby. A group of hard-hitting Texas women overcome myriad obstacles in resurrecting and revamping the sport, only to find internal strife ripping the fledgling organization apart. Two leagues emerge from the clash, and what follows ignites an international roller derby revival.
Filmed over a four-year period, filmmakers Bob Ray (director) and Werner Campbell (producer) captured the genesis of this rowdy sport. Bob Ray is a writer/director in Austin, Texas whose works includes the critically acclaimed narrative feature Rock Opera (screened at CUFF in 2000), music videos for Riverboat Gamblers and Nashville Pussy, and several short films and animation. Hell on Wheels marks his documentary feature debut. Werner Campbell has been working in independent media since 1995. His web site www.alternativefilm.com was an early pioneer of streaming video, showcasing short films from all over the world and providing industry commentary and interviews with independent filmmakers, including Lloyd Kaufman and D.A. Pennebaker.
Edited by Conor O’Neill (Murderball), with an original score by Â…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, Hell on Wheels is both an action packed sports film as well as a dramatic story of the creation of the first two all-girl roller derby leagues: The Lonestar Rollergirls and the Texas Rollergirls.
“Part rock ’em, sock ’em sports doc and part behind-the-scenes expose, the film is blessedly free of A&E-style jiggle and melodramatic pandering, and it makes clear the value of Derby for misfit girls who like to clothesline people. Best of all is the film’s coda, which tracks the subsequent formation of Roller Derby leagues across the U.S. and the globe.” – The Austin Chronicle
“the kind of twists, drama, cat fights and compound fractures that only happen in real life. Â…the story is extremely compelling, sometimes laugh-out-loud outrageous and above all inspiring.” – Ain’t It Cool News