East Austin Stories

Since 2000, as the forces of gentrification and development make profound changes in neighborhoods of East Austin, University of Texas RTF students have made short documentary films about the communities, families, individuals, institutions, and businesses east of I-35.

East Austin Stories is the name of the ongoing class in documentary filmmaking; the annual, free, public screening of new films in neighborhood venues; and this collection of all of the short films. 

Rose's Story
Rose's Story
Rose's Story

Rose Pulliam decided she needed to live differently after a marriage, children, and career. It took her until she was almost 50 before she understood she could create who she was and allow herself to be more than "one thing or the other." This is a beautifully told biography of a queer woman of color.

Directors
Chris Kim, Kelly Sloan, Zoja Ulesoo
The History of Green & White
The History of Green & White
The History of Green & White

The Cazares family has owned their grocery for three generations. In the beginning it was a place where Mexican-Americans could avoid discrimination and find the foods that reminded them of the old country. Now, it is a place where people can find the candles, powders, herbs, and other ingredients they need for esoteric spiritual pursuits.

Director
Elizabeth Lepe
Love to Kibera
Love to Kibera
Love to Kibera

Nijalon Dunn, a Reagan High School student, has something to prove--to his family, the state, the world, but mainly to himself. Making a mission trip to the world's biggest slum his goal is a way for him to find what he needs, and show what he's got. Nijalon and his brothers talk about him, family, and what it means to strive for something.

Directors
Chelsea-Shay Laning, Cory Tice, Emilee Wuebben
Our Guadalupe
Our Guadalupe
Our Guadalupe

Sisters Carmen, Frances, Olga, and Josie Salas have always been a part of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on 9th and Lydia. "We were born to the church. Church came first," says Josie. A family history intertwined with church history. The sisters still live two blocks away from the church in the same house where Josie was born 76 years ago.

Directors
Chelsea Hernandez, Juan Elizondo, Lacey Triplett
Road to Grandma's House
Road to Grandma's House
Road to Grandma's House

When Bella Zapata and her mother Dianna Perez moved out of Grandma's house, Bella painted a map of the way back...that became a prize-winner and a neighborhood park mural. Three generations of women tell their story.

Directors
Sean Mimms, Michelle Mejia, Huay-Bing Law
Wesley United
Wesley United
Wesley United
Directors
Megan Bennett, Traci Duran, Jordan Garcia, Landry Gideon
Yardists
Yardists
Yardists

If there are lines between Art, Play, Spirituality, and a little Hokum, they are sometimes hard to find when these Yard Artists go to work. People aren't just making this stuff, they're living it.

Directors
Huay-Bing Law, Michelle Dahlenberg, Matty Greene
Five Generations
Five Generations
Five Generations

In 1860 Joe Sing migrated from China and became one of the first Asian immigrants to reside in Austin. Five generations later, his family recounts his history and celebrates their American, Mexican, and Chinese culture. Sing's great-great-great grandson, Raul, reached the Austin History Center with long-untouched photos and documents his mother found several years ago. Anywhere from rushing over new photographs to completely remodeling his family's home, Raul has gone through great lengths to dig up and preserve the uncovered mystery that is his heritage.

Directors
Rhea Rivera, Chelsea Hernandez, Adrian LaGuette
Meals on Wheels and more
Meals on Wheels and more
Meals on Wheels and more

The nonprofit group Meals on Wheels and More serves 1,750 meals to hungry people every day. But as Michael Goldstein explains, its about more than delivering food. Its about developing independent living.

Director
Mathew Gray
Ginko Studios
Ginko Studios
Ginko Studios

Ceramicist Sunyong Chung uses a complex technique called nerikome to make exquisite designs. "To find something each day that inspires you - whatever it is - and make something..create something each and every day...that's my advice."

Directors
Erica Bullis, Kushan Dasgupta, Yuta Yamaguchi
Petanque at the French Legation
Petanque at the French Legation
Petanque at the French Legation

Back when Mirabeau Lamar was the President of the Republic of Texas, the French opened diplomatic relations with the new country. They built on 22 acres of land just east of Austin. Today the French Legation is a part of East Austin and an outpost for French citizens and francophiles to gather. And here we see them engaged in the revered sport of Petanque, the game that is the French cousin of horseshoes and Italian bocce. They are also somewhat engaged in other revered sports of cheese, wine, and bread and associated revelry.

Directors
Adrian LaGuette, Michelle Dahlenberg, Matty Greene
Playing Papi
Playing Papi
Playing Papi
Directors
Miguel Guajardo, Lane Genzlinger, Arlette Saucedo, Juan Valadez
World's Fastest Mexican
World's Fastest Mexican
World's Fastest Mexican

Is Austins Charlie Machado the worlds fastest Mexican? Thats what people call him in the motorcycle-racing world, where he routinely reaches speeds of 200 miles an hour—in 7 seconds or less. When hes not racing, Charlie loves working on his bikes, and teaching his son Chuy to renovate and rebuild high-performance cars and bikes.

Director
Daniel Del Favero
For Me and Him
For Me and Him
For Me and Him
Directors
Helen Gagne, Jennifer Parales, Christina Kim
Community Policing
Community Policing
Community Policing

In any city, relations between communities and police can sometimes be tense. However, any community cares about safety. It is because of this that Austins police department has started a program to make its officers known and trusted by the community, rather than a source of fear.

Directors
Matthew Gray, Sammy Luciano
Nuevo Leon
Nuevo Leon
Nuevo Leon

It’s the American Dream—building a business from scratch and watching it grow. Over 18 years, the Nuevo Leon restaurant has developed a loyal customer base that makes Rachel Davila and Kevin Ortiz proud. Some day, they hope, generations of East Austin children will remember their special recipes and personal service.

Links:

Director
Terence Tang
Blurring the Lines
Blurring the Lines
Blurring the Lines

While East Austin is home to both African-Americans and Hispanics, both groups don't always intermingle. Community activists Juan Valadez and Boyd Vance decided to do something about it. By inviting both communities to celebrate cultural festivals like Mexican Independence Day and Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, they hope to make East Austin feel more like one big community than many fragmented groups.

Links:

Directors
Wade Couturiaux, Rob Ripperda, David Tilman, Ryan Williams
Mentor
Mentor
Mentor
Soundmix
Soundmix
Soundmix

TC's Lounge is an old blues bar off of 12th Street in East Austin with a rich history and atmosphere that reflects the story of the city. This short portrait piece introduces the bar and some of its frequent clientele, focusing on Thomas Perkins, the dedicated owner of the place since the late seventies.

Director
Alicia Choina
A Taco for Me
A Taco for Me
A Taco for Me
Director
Raul Ramirez
In Search of Public Art
In Search of Public Art
In Search of Public Art
Director
Sean Cauthen
Crafting the Tradition
Crafting the Tradition
Crafting the Tradition

A glimpse into the Julia Hernandez's craft store that caters to quinceañeras in East Austin. Julia, a self-employed bussiness woman has built her little store up from a small booth at the local flea market. Today she, and her one employee, Veronica Barahona, offer a wide range of quinceañera materials and hand made supplies...from dresses to table decorations.

Directors
Juan Elizondo, Michelle Mejia, Rachael Schroeder
Behind the Velvet Ropes
Behind the Velvet Ropes
Behind the Velvet Ropes

Venus Velvet is the burlesque review stage name for Marita De La Torre. Marita plays at that personality for fun but is also a serious advocate of children and the arts as director of LUPE Arte, Latina Unidas Por El Arte.

Director
Alisha Brophy
Pool Rats
Pool Rats
Pool Rats

"A pool rat is a kid who shows up every single day and does not leave until we close'" says a Rosewood Pool lifeguard..This is a tour of a hot summer day in Austin spent, as much as possible, in the cool pleasure of the public pool. Our guides are Brione, Breece, Brownie, Looney, Keith, Lil' James, the Curry Brothers, and Jarell – all Pool Rats.

Links:

Directors
Sean Cunningham, Ryan Jarrell, Sam Shaffer