HBO recently purchased rights to the film Ann Richards’ Texas, a documentary produced by local dentist and Jacksonville native, Dr. Jordan Cooper. Dr. Cooper recently announced the news to a sold-out crowd when the film premiered in Arkansas at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival on Friday, Oct. 12.
"I wasn’t surprised that the film is such a hit. For one thing, people are thinking about politics right now, because we’re in the heat of a presidential election," Dr. Cooper said. "I’m thrilled that HBO has bought the rights, so now the film will reach a broader audience."
Ann Richards’ Texas chronicles the political career of Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards and has already won several awards, including an Epic Award and the Writers Guild of America award for Best Documentary Screenplay. The Austin Film Festival will feature the film on Oct. 24. Films shown at the festival often attract Oscar attention. The film was also shown in New York City on Oct. 19 presented by HBO documentaries. HBO bought the national and international rights to the documentary, but it is not known yet when the film will air.
Dr. Cooper partnered with four other Arkansans, executive producer Susan Altrui, executive producer Margy Niel, director Jack Lofton, and co-producer Eric Wilson to produce the film about the late governor. "I think she changed the political landscape of this country in so many important ways," Dr. Cooper said. "I hope that people will be inspired by Ann to not only be better and more productive members of society, but also to hold their elected officials accountable.."
As executive producer, Dr. Cooper assisted in multiple aspects of the production of the film. He helped to secure financial support, assisted with creative development, and provided business guidance. "I would love to do it again. It has been a great learning experience and a lot of fun. I hope to begin the next film project in the next year or two," Dr. Cooper said.
Ann Richards was only the second woman elected as governor of Texas as well as a feminist Democrat in a predominantly Republican state. Her 2006 obituary in the Washington Post said that she was known for her "Texas twang, halo of white hair and quick-on-the-draw quips." Richards was a life-long activist for women’s and minority rights, and her successes included founding of the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, located in Austin. The film features interviews with Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and many others who knew and worked with Ann Richards.