Wofford Denius Chair in Entertainment Studies
Paul Stekler is a nationally recognized documentary filmmaker whose critically praised and award-winning work includes George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire; Last Man Standing: Politics, Texas Style; Vote for Me: Politics in America, a four-hour PBS special about grassroots electoral politics; two segments of the Eyes on the Prize II series on the history of civil rights; Last Stand at Little Big Horn (broadcast as part of PBS's series The American Experience); Louisiana Boys: Raised on Politics (broadcast on PBS's P.O.V. series); Getting Back to Abnormal (which aired on P.O.V. in 2014); and 2016’s Postcards from the Great Divide, a web series about politics for The Washington Post and PBS Digital. Overall, his films have won two George Foster Peabody Awards, three Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Journalism Awards, three national Emmy Awards, and a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival. See a brief summary of his films on American polities here. Watch a career reel of his films here.
Dr. Stekler, who was RTF Chair from 2010 to 2017, has a doctorate in Government from Harvard University, where his work focused on Southern politics. He previously was a political pollster in Louisiana, while teaching at Tulane, and was the founder of Center for Politics and Governance at UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs. His writing, on subjects like Hollywood blockbuster films, the greatest Texas documentaries, American politics and politics as depicted in documentary films has appeared in the Texas Observer, Texas Monthly, the International Documentary Association’s magazine, among other places, and in the book, “Killing Custer," co-written with the late Native American novelist James Welch. Stekler was named film school Mentor of the Year in 2014 by Variety Magazine.
Stekler’s films have all been broadcast nationally on PBS, on POV, the American Exoerience, Frontline, and as specials. He’s also been an Executive or Consulting Producer on a number of documentaries including Margaret Brown’s Be Here to Love Me, Peter Frumkin’s Woody Guthrie: Ain’t Got No Home, Karen Skloss’ Sunshine, and Keith Maitland’s The Eyes of Me.
He also played in New Orleans' only working bluegrass band, Wabash, weekly at the Maple Leaf Bar in the 1980's.