Local Filmmaker Receives Grant to Produce Long-Awarded Spindletop Feature

Film to Celebrate the Unlikely Partnership that Ushered the U.S. into the Age of Oil

January 10, 2019 - Houston filmmaker Jason Leal, the recipient of a Support for Artists and Creative Individuals Grant from the Houston Arts Alliance, is today announcing his search for strategic partners for his new film project focused on the historic Spindletop event of 1901. The grant, one of the largest awarded by the organization, will be used to start production on the feature, including filming the first scene.

Spindletop, well-known to those in south Texas, has been the subject of books, television programs, and at one point during the mid-1970s was in the early stages of becoming a film. The story centers around Patillo Higgins, a colorful entrepreneur with a complicated history, who is convinced there’s oil underneath a well-known hill despite nearly every oil and geological experts’ opinion to the contrary. Higgins stays the course and eventually finds a partner in Austrian-born Anthony F. Lucas, and after some obstacles, the pair discover the largest gusher the world had seen. The discovery is credited with starting the great Texas oil boom and entering the U.S. into the oil age.

“Spindletop is such an epic event, and I’ve always felt it deserved to be told on the big screen,” Leal said. “There is a very relatable and human story that lies beneath the history that isn’t as well known - one that will entertain, touch, and inspire. I’m excited to lead the charge in immortalizing this important piece of history that put Houston on the map.” 

Spindletop, will focus on the unlikely friendship between Higgins and Lucas and their passion and tenacity to succeed against all odds. Leal is in the final stages of screenplay development and is currently taking meetings with potential investors and partners who are interested in bringing the story to life. For more information, visit https://spindletopmovie.com/.

Visitors attending the Spindletop 118th anniversary event at Beaumont's Gladys City Boomtown on January 12th will get to meet Leal and hear more about his project. He will speak after the gusher re-enactment at 10:30, the same time the Lucas Gusher blew it's riches in 1901.

About the Filmmaker

Jason Leal is a proud native Houstonian and alumnus of the University of Houston. Motivated by a family tragedy, he left a successful career in sales and marketing in 2013 and began to pursue his lifelong passion for film. Jason’s first foray into filmmaking was volunteering on various projects in the Houston area. He has since gone on to write, direct, and produce three short films of his own, which have been screened at the Houston Latino Film Festival and the Boomtown Film and Music Festival. His most recent short film, A Mild Skirmish, was awarded the Texas Proud Award at Boomtown. Jason is the recipient of two grants from the Houston Arts Alliance for his dedication to highlighting the city through the art of film. His current project focuses on the famed Spindletop gusher of 1901 that launched the Texas oil boom and ushered the U.S. into the oil age. He currently lives in Houston with his wife and two dogs and enjoys attending and volunteering at film festivals and meeting other filmmakers.

Press Contact: Info@SpindletopMovie.com Twitter: @Spindletop