BOULDER — Independent filmmakers Scott McElroy and Glen Czaplewski felt they had no other choice.
As security escorted Republican U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave from the Daily Times-Call election forum through a crowded hallway at Longmont High School on Oct. 12, they made their move.
They wanted an interview with the congresswoman to get her perspective of the 4th Congressional District race.
But while Czaplewski yelled questions, they were pushed aside by Musgrave’s aides, who also blocked McElroy’s camera, as the congresswoman was hurried to the parking lot.
“On the car ride home, we both were feeling a little dirty that we had to do that,” Czaplewski admitted a week later in McElroy’s Boulder apartment.
He compared the interview attempt to something filmmaker Michael Moore would do, which didn’t sit well with Czaplewski.
Czaplewski, 22, a political science student at the University of Wyoming; and McElroy, 28, a recent film school graduate from the University of Colorado, are making a documentary movie about the 4th Congressional District race, with a working title of “Ninety Days.”
Democratic candidate Angie Paccione and Reform Party candidate Eric Eidsness have worked with the duo, but Musgrave’s camp hasn’t yet agreed to participate.
“We are trying to tell this unbiased story, but we are only telling two sides,” McElroy said.
So they tried the ambush approach, for the film’s sake.
“The funny thing is, Glen is a lifelong Republican,” McElroy said, explaining that their intentions were fairly innocent.
McElroy is on the other side of the political spectrum. They figured the two political stances would keep them both honest on the film’s content.
The two started working together last year, when they participated and won the Shoot Out 24 Hour Filmmaking Festival in Boulder, along with two other friends.
They also are competing in the Shoot Out this weekend, though their project for that event is unrelated to “Ninety Days.”
The initial partnership seemed like a natural fit after the two met through mutual friends in Boulder, Czaplewski said.
“With Scott being a film student with an interest in politics and me being a poli-sci student with a strong interest in film, we thought it would be a good match,” Czaplewski said.
Winning the Shoot Out last year got them free tickets to the Boulder International Film Festival, where they saw “Wellstone!”, their inspiration for “Ninety Days.”
“Wellstone!” is documentary about Paul Wellstone, the former U.S. senator who died in a plane crash during a re-election campaign in 2004.
“We thought, after seeing that documentary, that this is something that we could do,” Czaplewski said.
McElroy said the race between Paccione and Musgrave provides a device that any good movie has: an obstacle to overcome.
He said the obstacles Paccione faces in running in the heavily Republican district — and early polling showing that she had a shot to win — make for good drama.
“We definitely need an ending before we can fully perceive how we are going to approach this,” McElroy said.
Depending on what happens, they may shop the finished product around at local film festivals.
Good cinema, McElroy said, has unexpected endings, such as a race too close to call.
He said they are keeping their fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, they’re still hoping to get that interview with Musgrave.
Douglas Crowl can be reached
at 303-684-5253, or by e-mail