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. 

Urban Farm
Urban Farm
Urban Farm

Carol Ann Sayles and Larry Butlers dream was to start a farm in East Austin. A decade later, people all over Austin visit Boggy Creek Farm for organic produce, fresh eggs, and to mingle with the community. Others have joined Carol and Larry over time, like Andrea de Luna, Don Saqaro, Don Lupe, and his wife, Maria. Together, they nurture the land and grow nutritious food for the community.

Director
Amy Routh Mullen
78702 Live Stories Thumbnail - Two boys
78702 Live Stories: A place for the kids
78702 Live Stories: A place for the kids

Sometimes being a kid can be, well, boring, especially if you dont have a lot of money to spend or computer games at home. Thats when it helps to have a place to go to hang out with other young people and see what the city has to offer.

Directors
Sean Goodrich,Amy Grafe,Sara Ponce
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
Green & White
Green & White
Green & White

John Cazares at The Green and White Grocery sells traditional medicines and velas espirituales. But step into the back and you might find him drumming or leading a martial arts class. The Green and White is a place to connect with the community with a history that goes back farther than the building itself.

Directors
Tristan Becker,James Boisvenue,Sarah Garcia
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
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
Road to Grandma
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
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
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
Wesley United
Wesley United
Wesley United
Directors
Megan Bennett,Traci Duran,Jordan Garcia,Landry Gideon
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
Graphic Glass
Graphic Glass
Graphic Glass

Rejina Thomas sold her first painting when she was 15. Now, the award-winning glass art and etching she does in her East Fifth Street studio is collected and shown internationally. Vivacious and opinionated, Thomas shares her Graphic Glass studio, her art, and her advice to young artists: “Don’t wait for the money. Hurry up and do it.

Yellow Bike Stories
Yellow Bike Stories
Yellow Bike Stories

One of the many great things about East Austin is that there are plenty of places to walk and bike. For many people, riding a bike is the ultimate form of freedom. It gets you where you need to go, you get some exercise, you're never stuck in traffic, and even if you have a crash, you've got a great story to tell.

Links:

Director
Danielle McMillen
Nothing Like Mama's
Nothing Like Mama's
Nothing Like Mama's

“Mama” Sustaita never uses a recipe to cook her pies, cakes, and tamales for her family, neighbors, and bake sales. She doesn’t need to—she learned it all from her own mother. In this documentary, she shows off some of her unwritten techniques.

Director
Jon Benner
Familia Aztlan
Familia Aztlan
Familia Aztlan

The artists at Aztlan Dance Company use tradition as their inspiration, but they don't let it constrain them. Instead, Director Roen Salinas and company start with dances from across Latin America, from Mexican folklorico to Argentina's tango, and use them to build their own choreography. The result is a unique statement that pays homage to the past while moving Austin's dance scene into the future.

Directors
Andrew Lasky,Manny Mendoza
The King Holds Court
The King Holds Court
The King Holds Court
Director
Amber Rademacher
La Tierra de Mis Hijos
La Tierra de Mis Hijos
La Tierra de Mis Hijos

People leave their homes and move to the United States for many reasons. As Francisco Rodriguez explains, the move may be difficult, but it also comes with rewards.

Directors
Raul Erivez,Eric Jenkins,Andrew Lasky,Amy Mullin,Steven Ray
Cemetary of Steel
Cemetary of Steel
Cemetary of Steel

Sculptor Barry George builds his art out of found objects and metalworking techniques he picked up traveling the world. In his sculptures, wood, steel, cardboard, and wire are transformed into political statements and images of beauty.

Links:

Directors
John Johnson,Alec Dahl
Ruth's Ladder
Ruth's Ladder
Ruth's Ladder

In more than 20 years of helping the homeless get back on their feet, Ruth Robinson has learned that you cant help everybody. But for those who just need a place to stay, a good meal, and a little time to sort things out, her Community Crossroads Home on East 12th Street is a haven. Maybe its because Ms. Robinson knows what its like to just need a little help through the hard times.

Directors
Russel Baldonado,Wes Stone
It's Just Art
It's Just Art
It's Just Art

Is art "just art"? At the George Washington Carver Museum, people say it's a lot more than something pretty to hang on the wall. Rather, it's a way African-Americans can present their own visions of the world, and reflect their pride in their culture.

Links:

Director
Carlos Cruz
American Dollars and Cokes
American Dollars and Cokes
American Dollars and Cokes

Arturo Escamilla came to this country for "American dollars and cokes", that is, to make a better life for his family.

Directors
Raul Ereivev,Josh New,Jordan Peterson
Rocha's Ghost
Rocha's Ghost
Rocha's Ghost

In Roman Rocha's Spanish class, verbs are conjugated and floors collapse. He dims the lights and students' eyes open wide, ready for another tale of local mystery. Martin Middle School's Rocha says he makes ghost stories "a reward" for work, but, weaving two languages in the tale-telling, his "kinesthetic" teaching never stops. Everyone will remember that a bruja (witch) makes candles out of corpses. Pencils scratch and doors creak. That whooshing sound is Roman Rocha, sneaky as a phantom, passing East Austin's lore on to another generation.

Directors
Caroline Hoffman,Maure Kennedy,Laura Kincaid,Melissa Woodward
How Roller Derby Saved My Life
How Roller Derby Saved My Life
How Roller Derby Saved My Life

Roller Derby is alive and well in Austin and Rebecca Gutierrez (aka radioACTIVE) is here to talk about it. While it didn't exactly save her life, it definitely gave her another way to have some fun. Meet radioActive, Cherry Crush, and the other Hot Rod Honeys who are part of the txrollergirls.com scene.

Directors
Wayne Cheong,Jeb Kendrick
Fire Island
Fire Island
Fire Island

At Fire Island Hot Glass Studio, Matthew LaBarbera and Teresa Ueltschney work together to build their glass-blowing business and develop their art. Sometimes it's hard, but they love it when customers appreciate their work, and appreciate the chance to make a living doing what they love.

Directors
Sunhee Cho,Mike Cintron,Lisette Garza,Drew Masada