Brent Roske bills "Courting Des Moines," as the quintessential film about the Iowa Caucuses and a must-see for political junkies who want more than a "30-second sound byte from cable news" on the nation's first presidential nominating contest. It's also come together nearly as quickly as a caucus campaign.
Roske finished writing the script for his sequel to the 2012 web series, "Chasing the Hill," in December 2014. On Monday, the veteran director-producer turned Iowa political TV host, Roll Call contributor and one-time House hopeful, is putting the wraps on the project, rolling out a movie poster and plans for Washington, D.C., and Hawkeye State screenings before the Feb. 1 caucuses.
The political drama is "the only fictional film about the Iowa Caucus," Roske told HOH.
California politician Samantha Clemons is back. This time the congresswoman, played by "West Wing" alumna Melissa Fitzgerald, faces allegations that may or may not be true. She decides to run for president in "a bit of a fight-back moment," Roske said, who plays a character named "Roske."
Adding to the authenticity of Clemons' caucus campaign, 99 percent of the project's filming took place in Des Moines. "The city has been completely generous about location," he gushed.
Roske filmed under the gold dome of the Iowa State Capitol, including a scene in the legislative library. A tour guide told Roske that a movie crew hadn't invaded since the 1971 satirical comedy, "Cold Turkey."
Local businesses are also supporting his foray into the city's fledgling entertainment industry. The edgy printshop RAYGUN might roll out some T-shirts to mark the film's debut, Roske said.
One of Iowa's most storied members of Congress also joined the fun. Former Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin appears, Roske revealed. He's keeping the other politician cameos a secret.
What else? Well, "Courting Des Moines" has officially begun the process of consideration for the Oscars, Roske learned Monday.