God Save Texas: The Price of Oil – Director Alex Stapleton

In GOD SAVE TEXAS: THE PRICE OF OIL, Houston born and raised filmmaker Alex Stapleton turns her lens on her hometown to chronicle the impact of the Texas oil industry on Houston residents, specifically Black and disenfranchised communities, including the lives of her own family, who arrived in Texas in the 1830s as slaves and have stayed in the state for nearly 200 years. Tracing her personal story as a descendant of slave owners, Stapleton widens her focus to show how Black history is vital to the Texas oil boom, yet has largely been left out of the history books. Despite representing 13% of the U.S. population, Black and brown people only make up 6% of the oil and gas workforce, with few in leadership positions, and historically, their neighborhoods are more likely to suffer the encroachment of refineries and chemical plants. Residents of Pleasantville, a Houston housing community developed in 1948 for Black veterans and their families, and similar “fenceline” communities risk exposure to elevated levels of toxicity and pollution. Illustrating that environmental racism is a civil rights issue, and by giving voice to the very people who face the human cost of Texas’ biggest money-maker, GOD SAVE TEXAS: THE PRICE OF OIL is a call for a long overdue reckoning. Director Alex Stapleton joins us to talk about  her family’s multi-generational relationship with Texas and in the process makes it crystal clear the degree to which the spectre of slavery, the pervasive legacy of “sundowner” towns, economic deprivation and the environmental racism that continue to be a part of the lived experience for people of color in the Lone Star state.


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For more go to: hbo.com/god-save-texas

About the filmmaker – Alex Stapleton is an Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker.  Alex’s recent film about baseball legend Reggie Jackson was released on Amazon Prime to critical acclaim including a Critics Choice nomination, and her next film God Save Texas about the energy industry’s impact on the African-American community told through the experience of her own family will be released on HBO February 2024.  In the past, she has been nominated as showrunner and executive producer for both a GLAAD and Gotham award for Pride (FX), a six-part docu-series chronicling the American LGBTQ+ Civil Rights movement dating back to the 1950’s. Other directing and producing credits include Hello Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea (Netflix), Shut Up & Dribble (Showtime), and The Playbook (Netflix). Stapleton made her directorial debut with the critically acclaimed film, Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (A&E), featuring Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, and Ron Howard, which premiered at Sundance and competed at top festivals including Cannes and the New York Film Festival. Projects to be released next year include: a limited television series for HBO that shines new light on one of one of the most prominent racial justice cases of the 1980s; a four-part series on women in hip hop; and a music meets technology docuseries for Paramount+ based on the book How Music Got Free. In 2021, Stapleton launched the company House of NonFiction as a platform to develop and produce film, television and other storytelling and experiential formats. As a proud member of the Directors Guild, she currently serves on the National Board and is also co-chair of the recently formed Documentary Committee.  For more go to: alexstapleton.com

This three-part non-sequential anthology / HBO trilogy GOD SAVE TEXAS made its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and is currently screening on HBO. In this trilogy, three Texan filmmakers, Oscar nominee  Richard Linklater, Emmy® winner Alex Stapleton and Iliana Sosa visit Huntsville, Houston and El Paso respectively, using their personal relationships with these cities to paint contemporary. The series is inspired by the book “God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State” by Lawrence Wright. Executive producers include Lawrence Wright, Alex Gibney, Richard Linklater, Peter Berg, Michael Lombardo, Elizabeth Rogers, Stacey Offman, Richard Perello. For HBO: executive producers, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller; senior producer, Tina Nguyen.


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“For those who watch with an open mind and in good faith, “God Save Texas” should help them understand it a little better, no matter how far they live from the border. One might even say it has the Wright stuff.” – Brian Lowry, CNN.com

“A deeply personal and deeply moving social justice documentary triptych in which three filmmakers examine their Texas hometowns and, by extension, a different societal specter looming over the Lone Star State.” – Mike Scott, Times-Picayune

“The trilogy of films is essential viewing for every resident of the state …. [reflecting] many of my own contradictory feelings about the state, while also capturing something about the spirit of the people that offers a measure of hope for the future.” – Peter Martin, DallasFilmNow.com

“God Save Texas may only be a three-part anthology docuseries, but in those three parts, it manages to be wide-ranging, timely and vitally important.” – Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter

“Each entry points to the evolving mindsets within Texas, even as it is painted as a monolith by those outside its borders.” – Alan French, Sunshine State Cineplex