In August of 2010 I was working on a documentary that found me out in front of the Texas capitol filming a Tea Party rally that focused on denouncing Barack Obama. One of the speakers that day was Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz. I had never heard of him at the time and he was largely unknown statewide. In a fiery speech he fervently called for ending the Affordable Care Act and for defeating the president in 2012. The event (which is included in this current documentary) made a huge impression on me.
By 2012 Cruz had become a Tea Party hero. He surprised pundits when he toppled a mainstream Republican to win the nomination to run for U.S. Senate. Then he buried his Democratic opponent in a landslide victory in the general election.
I felt then that the election had unfolded with little examination of both Cruz and opponent Paul Saddler on film and in television.
When I picked up a copy of the Austin American Statesman in late 2016 and read that U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke of El Paso was considering a run for Cruz’s senate seat I took an interest. On March 31, 2017 I traveled to El Paso to film his campaign announcement. Off and on from that day until as late as August 2, 2018 I filmed and edited material for the film that has become RUN LIKE THE DEVIL.
The film is an honest effort to make a non-partisan film about the two candidates, their personal stories, their beliefs, their respective parties and some of the most controversial issues in the campaign.
The film is independently funded. An ambitious Kickstarter campaign failed, but enough people donated to our project via a fiscal sponsorship through the Austin Film Society that we were able to cover most expenses for making the film. I work as a part-time Lecturer in film at UT Austin and as a freelance writer/director/cinematographer. I have my own gear and I also edit. My hours shooting and editing on this film are donated to the film as a civic commitment on my part and is also a reflection of my love of doing the job of work that is making a film.
Crucial in this effort is producer Richelle Fatheree. Early on we had help from Austin attorney Reid Nelson.
Like all projects, the very best part of the process is going to places you’d otherwise never go and meeting people you would never meet. Meeting Beto and his family was a true pleasure, as was getting to pick the brains of everyone else who was generous enough to make time for an interview. Ted Cruz’s staff kindly worked with us to schedule an interview where he answered all our questions without clearing them in advance.
In the end I think the film is as honest a portrait of the two candidates as I can make. There is much in the film that will be uneasy for partisans and which will anger some people. I think there is real utility in that and I hope it fosters frank discussions that otherwise might not happen.
STEVE MIMS ◉ director • editor • cinematographer