Joe Gruters mini-doc wins international video award
Joe Gruters as U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Screen Shot 2019-07-11 at 12.46.09 PM
The political ad features Gruters at the border wall.

A video ad documenting Sen. Joe Gruters’ journey to the border wall just won an honor from an international marketing group.

The AVA Digital Awards 2020 competition awarded its Gold honor to the mini-documentary, titled “El Paso” in the long-form video/government category.

It’s the group’s second highest honor.

Gruters, the sitting chair of the Republican Party of Florida, released the video last July. The ad is largely narrated by Gruters from the driver’s seat of a pickup truck explaining his own views on immigration.

“Our immigration system is shot,” Gruters said in the ad. Later, alongside footage of the border wall, he says, “to see the old wall, where people at the end could just walk around, it was incredibly disappointing.”

Gruters’ Florida Conservatives United political committee paid for the ad and consultant Max Goodman produced it.

Gruters credited Goodman’s unorthodox filming technique that more resembled a documentary than a slick campaign ad.

“I had never been a part of a film shoot where there is no script and the director just says ‘go,’” Gruters said. The comfort to step out of the box stemmed in part to Gruters’ long working relationship with Goodman.

“Goodman and I go back a long ways and there simply isn’t a more cutting edge talent in the game. Goodman worked with me on Vern Buchanan‘s first campaign and he has developed into one of the best politicos in the State.”

Gruters worked that 2006 campaign first as a treasurer and later as campaign manager. Goodman notably now serves as Buchanan’s campaign manager in his 2020 re-election campaign.

Goodman shot the ad with J.P. Manterola of Pulpo Creative using drone cameras, Go Pros and a 4K camera to add cinematic quality.

“That was one memorable shoot. All credit goes to JP Manterola, the best cinematographer in the biz, and to Joe who is always willing and able to stretch conventional limits,” Goodman said.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


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