Real-life tragedy leads BCU alum on spiritual journey in novel, film

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) – This coming weekend, the drama “The Ravine” will premiere in select theaters across the country, including the Promenade here in Sioux City.

Why Sioux City? The film was co-produced and co-written by Robert Pascuzzi, alum from Briar Cliff University, and his wife Kelly, based on the book of the same name.

The story is a spiritual story that emerged from a real life tragedy and contains lessons that the Pascuzzis say anyone can learn.

“The Ravine” is about a shocking murder-suicide. Danny Turner, played by Peter Facinelli, kills his wife and son and leaves himself to leave the community and wonder why a loving father and husband would commit such heinous crimes. “They were based on real stories,” said Kelly Pascuzzi, co-producer and co-writer. Kelly Pascuzzi, who co-wrote her husband Robert’s theatrical version of the same name, knows the story because she and her husband Robert lived it. “We faced the unexpected and the unimaginable … losing our best friends to a terrible tragedy,” said Kelly Pascuzzi. “And we really had to focus on what we had lost or what we had left.”

The tragedy took the Pascuzzis on a spiritual journey. “It was really God’s way of using a tragedy for the common good,” said Kelly Pascuzzi. And gave the couple the opportunity to influence other lives as well. “That’s the purpose of this film,” said Kelly Pascuzzi. “We hope through this universal message of hope and forgiveness that we can really affect people’s lives.”

Actor Kyle Lowder plays Tony Turner, Danny Turner’s brother, whose character has lost a brother, a sister-in-law and a nephew. In real life, Lowder lost his best friend to a drunk driver when he was only 16 years old. “I definitely took advantage of those memories and the emotional impact of those memories that were transformed from Kyle Lowder’s experience to Tony Turner’s experience,” said Kyle Lowder, cast member. “So I really went back to that experience.” And the experience of making the film changed Lowder too. “I would argue that anyone who watches this movie and gets involved in history changes this movie for the better,” Lowder said. “I know it’s a little brave, but I stand by it.”

Robert Pascuzzi believes that his film not only offers people the opportunity to change, but also inspires them to hope. “There is always hope through everything you have to endure in your life,” said Robert Pascuzzi, co-producer, co-writer. “Hope is always present. And there is always a hopeful future if we look for it.”

The film will be released in selected cities on Friday April 2nd. In Sioux City. The film will be shown on Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. at Promenade Cinema 14, on Saturday, April 3rd at 2:00 p.m. and at 7:00 p.m. and on Sunday, April 4th at 4:00 p.m.

Before becoming a filmmaker, Robert Pascuzzi was a student and baseball player at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City in the 1980s. When asked what he remembers most about his time on “The Cliff”, Pascuzzi says he remembers the feeling of “community”. “Everyone supported everyone,” said Robert Pascuzzi, co-producer and co-writer. “I played baseball, but the baseball team really supported the basketball team and vice versa. So there was a lot of camaraderie. I loved the community. The community was just like that. A lot of support from the community.”

Dr. Rachelle Karstens, president of Briar Cliff, says she is excited that the Pascuzzis have turned their book into a movie and that they will premiere it in Sioux City. “We sat down with Robert and Kelly about Zoom and told Robert I had a hashtag that I like to use,” said Dr. Rachelle Karstens, President of Briar Cliff University. “It’s the hashtag ‘DoctorBCUIsProud’. And I said we are absolutely so proud of you, Robert and Kelly, for this achievement in your life.”

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