A Davenport political consultant and a few of his friends have made a movie about the Iowa Caucuses. Steve Grubbs, a former state Representative and a 1996 G-O-P candidate for the U.S. Senate, says they shot the scenes earlier this year and completed work on “In the Arena” in early October.
“We have submitted it to 10 film festivals so far, including Sundance,” Grubbs says, referring to the independent film festival actor Robert Redford organizes in Park City, Utah. “We should be hearing from some of the early film festivals sometime at the end of this month or in early December to know if they accepted our film.”
The feature-length film is about an astronaut and businessman who decides to run for president and comes to Iowa hoping to win the state’s precinct caucuses which are the opening event in presidential campaigns. “Hopefully, it’s interesting,” Grubbs says of the movie. The lead actor — the astronaut-turned-businessman — is former state Senator Brian Sievers of Muscatine, and Grubbs enlisted the help of other former Iowa office-holders.
Former Governor Terry Branstad and two men who used to be Speaker of the Iowa House play themselves. “So it’s got a lot of real people playing real parts,” Grubbs says. He spent 40-thousand dollars of his own money to make the film. “I turned 40 and thought it was either buy a Harley Davidson or make a movie,” Grubbs jokes. “So I decided to make a movie and have some fun…hopefully people will enjoy it and learn a little bit more about the Iowa Caucuses.”
If one of the film festivals accepts the movie, it will make its world premiere at the event. Grubbs says it’s a real long shot to be accepted for Sundance, as only three percent of the films submitted get shown. But Grubbs believes one of the other film festivals will choose his film. Grubbs says he’d love to make a sequel, but this is probably his last attempt at movie-making.
If his film is accepted at one of these festivals, it has a good shot of being picked up by a distributor and that’s when Grubbs might make a little money on the venture because the distributor would schedule the movie to be shown on cable t.v. and in boutique theaters around the country.