With election day in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke closing in, Austin filmmaker Steve Mims reveals their opposing views of governing during a historic period of national political tumult.
Mims' documentary film, Run Like the Devil, is on tour and will make its first stop in Dallas on Friday, Oct.12 at the Angelika Film Center, as part of Dallas DocuFest.
The film will attempt to tell the audience in a non-partisan way if a "wildly unconventional campaign and center-left candidate pick off a Senate seat in ultra-conservative Texas," by understanding both candidates’ perspectives in the way the state should be govern, their background information, what they believe in and how they express their beliefs.
“To understand how you have two people who are virtually the same age — like two years apart — are polar opposite in terms in what they believe philosophically about everything, about government,” Mims says. “They are the opposite, raised in the same time and virtually in the same time. And to me, that is a big story. That’s why I felt it was important to get that down in film.”
Mims says he felt that the 2012 Senate race between Cruz and Paul Saddler received little examination in film and broadcast. He became interested in the campaign when O’Rourke first considered running for Senate in late 2017. Mims started filming in March 2017 during O’Rourke’s campaign announcement and since then, has filmed both candidates’ campaigns until August of this year.
“I think that people assume they know about Cruz and they know very little about Beto O’Rourke,” Mims says. “And I think that understanding the background in how they were raised and how they came into politics is very, very important. I don’t really think that has happened in the mainstream way for people to be able to understand who they are.”
Both Cruz and O’Rourke answered Mims' questions.
“This race reminds me of the Wendy Davis race,” Cruz says in the Run Like the Devil trailer. “We've already seen lots of media love directed Congressman O’Rourke’s way. It wouldn’t surprise me if this movie [Run Like the Devil] paints him as a, you know, liberal hero challenging great oppression. That narrative would be a very natural narrative for this movie.”
The film will also give perspectives of the election from expects, such as Evan Smith, the CEO of Texas Tribune, political adviser Mark McKinnon and more.
“I’m not going to believe that any of these outbreaks of resistance will amount to a hill of beans,” Smith says in the trailer. “Until I see the same people who are carrying signs in these marches to show up to vote, when really you can affect the lives of people. Otherwise it’s just theater.”
Speaking of Davis, for those who attend the screening, you will also see 13 Hours to Midnight, a short film, which relives Davis' 2013 filibuster of state anti-abortion legislation.
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This won’t be the only screening in the DFW area. Five locations have been scheduled to show Run Like the Devil.
Mims' film will be an honest take at portraying the two candidates.
“In the end it’s a binary decision,” Mims says. “You can vote for the senator that we already have or the guy that wants to be our senator.”
Tickets are $10 at the door or online. Movie screens at 7 p.m.