Scene 2 Seen Podcast: Director Alex Stapleton Discusses ‘God Save Texas: The Price Of Oil’, And Creating Authenticity In Documentary Storytelling

Hello, and welcome to the Scene 2 Seen Podcast! I am your host Valerie Complex, an associate editor and film writer at Deadline.

Today, I’m chatting with director Alex Stapleton, an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker known for her thought-provoking projects that have redefined authentic American storytelling across sports, music, pop culture, and social justice.

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In a career spanning more than 15 years, Stapleton has collaborated with some of the best documentarians in the industry, releasing projects across all the top networks and studios. She directed one part of the HBO documentary trilogy God Save Texas, with her segment The Price of Oil.

Now, this film series takes viewers on a journey through one of the most controversial states in the United States, guided by three directors, each with a unique and personal perspective. Stapleton’s installment chronicles the energy industry’s impact on the African American community told through her own personal lens and the experiences of fellow Houston residents and her family. The documentary had its world premiere at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival and was released on HBO in February.

In film, Stapleton made her directorial debut with the critically acclaimed A&E documentary Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, featuring Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, and Ron Howard. The film premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and competed at top festivals including Cannes and the New York Film Festival. In 2019, Stapleton directed, and executive produced the Netflix documentary Hello Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea which follows American comedian Chelsea Handler as she reexamines the concept of white privilege and its effect on American culture.

In television, Stapleton has been nominated as showrunner and executive producer for both a GLAAD and Gotham Award for FX’s Pride, a six-part docuseries chronicling the American LGBTQ+ Civil Rights movement dating back to the 1950’s. Other directing and producing credits include Showtime’s Shut up & Dribble and Netflix’s The Playbook.

Most recently, Stapleton directed the critically acclaimed Prime Video documentary Reggie. The film follows the story of baseball megastar Reggie Jackson as he contemplates his legacy as one of the first iconic black athletes, a pioneer in the fight for dignity, respect, and a seat at the table. The film garnered a Critics Choice Award nomination for “Best Sports Documentary.”

In 2024, Stapleton will be releasing other projects including 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. How Music Got Free, the music meets technology docuseries for Paramount+ based on the book of the same name had its world premiere at SXSW 2024, and is produced with SpringHill Entertainment and Eminem.

Stapleton founded the production company House of Nonfiction as a platform to develop and produce film, television, and other storytelling and experiential formats. Driven by community thought and discussion, the company’s mission is to tell authentic stories and give them the boundless merit and credence they deserve.

On this episode, the director talks about the challenges of documentary filmmaking, what she learned about herself and her family in the process of making The Price of Oil, and why YOU should be paying attention to what’s happening in Texas.

**If you like what you hear, be sure to review, like, and subscribe to the Scene to Seen Podcast on Apple, Spotify, and iHeart Radio**

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