Running with Beto

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USA | 2019 | 95 minutes | David Modigliani

Go behind the scenes of Texas' 2018 senatorial campaign as newly minted Democratic star Beto O'Rourke rises from obscurity to nearly unseat the hyper-conservative Ted Cruz and turn a red stronghold purple.

"'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' for the modern age"—Variety

Texas Democratic Congressman Beto O'Rourke gained national attention last year for his bold grassroots campaign to unseat Senator Ted Cruz. Beginning as a virtual unknown whose events attracted only a few dozen people, O'Rourke and his team of political newcomers nimbly crafted a distinctive style of campaigning in the historically Republican stronghold, refusing to accept corporate donations and personally introducing himself at town-hall events in every one of Texas' 254 counties. Produced by the progressive media company behind the podcast "Pod Save America," Running With Beto follows the candidate over 47,000 miles, during which documentarian David Modigliani's crew captured 700 hours of behind-the-scenes footage to craft this astonishingly intimate warts-and-all political documentary, a modern cousin of Albert Maysles' Primary and Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker's The War Room. The film also visits three diverse supporters—a former Republican, a mass-shooting survivor, and a delightfully foul-mouthed feminist—to reveal why they chose to dedicate their time to organizing for a relative newcomer. O'Rourke's bid for Senate may have been unsuccessful, but it was a much closer race than anyone anticipated, upending expectations and catapulting this folksy, candid candidate to the national stage, where he is now vying for a run for President of the United States.

Clinton McClung

Director Biography
David Modigliani is a documentary filmmaker with a unique knack for capturing the intimate human experience of politics in America. Through his Live Action Projects production company, he directed his first feature documentary, Crawford, which takes us inside the tiny Texas town that George W. Bush turned into the Western White House. The film world premiered at SXSW in 2008, played 33 festivals, and became the first new movie to air on Hulu.  His second feature doc, 61 Bullets, revealed an untold experience behind the 1935 assassination of populist U.S. Senator Huey P. Long in the Louisiana State Capitol Building. In addition to features, Modigliani also produced and co-directed a 12-part documentary series about young veterans returning from combat, "Wounded: The Battle Back Home," which aired on MSNBC and Netflix.

Sponsored by Tom Zimmermann

  • Director: David Modigliani
  • Principal Cast: Beto O'Rourke
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2019
  • Running Time: 95 minutes
  • Producer: Rachel Ecklund, Rebecca Feferman, Greg Kwedar, David Modigliani, Michelle Modigliani, Nancy Schafer
  • Cinematographers: Ellie Ann Fenton, Kelly West
  • Editors: Penelope Falk, David Bartner
  • Music: David Garza
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: SXSW 2019 (Audience Award, Documentary Spotlight)
  • Filmography: 61 Bullets (Doc, 2014); Crawford (Doc, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: HBO