‘Molly & Ann’ Highlights The Legacy Of Two Texas Political Juggernauts

The filmmaker of a short documentary debuting at the Austin Film Festival says Gov. Ann Richards and political columnist Molly Ivins had an outsized impact on Texas political life.

By Laura RiceOctober 22, 2018 1:30 pm, ,

Today more women are running for office than ever before. Just in time for the midterm elections, a new short film highlights two Texas women who were among the first in the modern era to have a large impact on politics. The film “Molly & Ann” follows the stories of Texas Governor Ann Richards and journalist Molly Ivins.

Paul Stekler, documentary filmmaker and radio-television-film professor at the University of Texas at Austin, is the director of the short film.

“I had all this footage. We had done short pieces about them when I had my old series “Special Session” on KLRU. I thought … How could we put this together and get it out in the world? Over the summer I realized that if could use the Women’s March and throw forward, ’cause this was what they worked for in their own ways,” Stekler says.

Stekler says that Richards brought women and minorities into state government unlike anyone before, and that Ivins was a journalist and a role model. Stekler says the current political climate made it the perfect time to bring their stories back into the spotlight. 

“There were very few people in politics like Ann when she was governor, and there were very few people like Molly in journalism when she was writing,” Stekler says.

Ivins’ and Richards’ work had an effect on politics, public policy and public opinion. Richards made her mark with just one term as Texas governor. Ivins, for her part, accumulated a large audience through her column that was distributed in 400 newspapers across the country. Ivins also wrote books.

“If you go into the rotunda, and you see all those paintings of the governors of Texas … the young women, that’ll stop in front of Ann’s picture and stare at it: that’s a legacy. For Molly’s writing, a lot of people still remember it, and a lot of people, you know, miss her voice,” Stekler says.

“Molly & Ann” is showing at the 25th annual Austin Film Festival, which starts Oct. 25.


Written by Alexia Puente.