Brent Roske on ‘Courting Des Moines’

Brent Roske on ‘Courting Des Moines’

Brent Roske shot 99% of his new film, Courting Des Moines, in Iowa’s capital city. As for the other 1%…


“We did one shoot in Los Angeles, with Sally Kirkland and Tom Harkin,” Roske said. “The Restaurant we rented cost more than all of Iowa locations put together.”


But the cost is just one reason that Roske, who recently migrated from LA himself, said he loved filming in Iowa.


“Iowa and Des Moines is very welcoming place,” Roske said. “You’ll be surprised how many people get involved. This town is just about to explode with creative energy. I look at Des Moines as next Portland or Austin.”


While Roske says Des Moines has a rich crop of local actors, he adds that sadly, there are no famous ones. That’s one reason that Courting Des Moines stars The West Wing’s Melissa Fitzgerald and other recognizable faces alongside the local actors.


Fitzgerald reprises her role from Roske’s previous series, Chasing the Hill, as a disgraced former California Congresswoman who moves to Des Moines. As the presidential campaigns begin to flood the state, she decides to mount a run herself.


Real politicians including Tom Harkin and David Young appear in the film, and Roske says their real-life experience brought a lot to their performances.


“They were better improv actors than the actors were,” he said.


Courting Des Moines premieres Jan. 31 at 9pm at The Varsity Theater, co-presented by Des Moines Film Society. Admission is free. Following the screening, there will be a Q&A with Roske and Harkin, moderated by Jason Dick of the political blog Roll Call.


Roske says his film will provide audiences with relief from the negativity of the election cycle.


“It’s a very positive portrayal of the caucus process,” he said. “My movie is as positive as House of Cards is negative about politics.”