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. 

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
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
Wesley United
Wesley United
Wesley United
Directors
Megan Bennett, Traci Duran, Jordan Garcia, Landry Gideon
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Sir Dukes
Sir Dukes
Sir Dukes
Directors
Brooks Bennett, Ellen Risch, Xotchitl Paredes
Juan in a Million
Juan in a Million
Juan in a Million

The taco: it's a perfect for breakfast, lunch, or a snack. One of the many fine Tex-Mex establishments in East Austin is Juan in a Million, where the people are friendly and the tacos, migas, and menudo won't leave you hungry.

Links:

Director
Trey Green
Popcorn
Popcorn
Popcorn

His grandma called him Popcorn ‘cause his eyes were so big. And those eyes saw a lot as he grew to adulthood in East Austin. The beatboxer, breakdancer, and former drug dealer has seen murder, death, and the desperate things people will do for crack. Now, although he’s straightened his life out, he’s seeing the younger generation make the same mistakes he did.

Director
Daniel Del Favero
Generation Digital
Generation Digital
Generation Digital

It only took a couple of cameras and some digital editing software to turn a bunch of sometimes troublemakers into budding filmmakers. The footage Mike Cueva, Angel Pedraza, and the rest of Raiders Films shoot of their classmates is broadcast all over Reagan High School, inspiring pride among jocks, cheerleaders, theater people, and computer people alike. With the help of their teacher, Trent Sharp, they explain why digital media are the voice of their generation.

Links:

Directors
Alexis Carreiro, Ruth Ann Knudsen
Mt. Olive Baptist Church
Mt. Olive Baptist Church
Mt. Olive Baptist Church
Directors
Trey Bennett, Michelle Berg, Daniel Hanna, Jason King, Sylvia Le
Live Oak Rules
Live Oak Rules
Live Oak Rules

Chip McElroy has one goal: world domination. That, and brewing the finest beer in East Austin. His Live Oak brewery has been bubbling, fizzing, and chilling since 1997, and even Chip is surprised how well things have gone. In this unconventional look at the beer-making process, Chip explains how higher education really does help one brew up a fine lager, ale, or hefeweisen.

Links:

Director
Carlos Cruz
Celebration of our Future
Celebration of our Future
Celebration of our Future

Education should be a lifelong process, one that begins before kindergarten. At the Ebenezer Baptist Church Child Development Center, the staff provide children with a place to play and learn from very early childhood

Directors
Christine Castano, DJ Carwille
Americanos
Americanos
Americanos

Museums are a place we can see ourselves for what we are, says Edward James Olmos. At Mexic-arte Museum, visitors can see the many ways Americans—who Olmos explains are all the people who inhabit the North and South American continents—represent themselves and their cultures.

Links:

Director
John Benner
Filipino Soul Food
Filipino Soul Food
Filipino Soul Food

Maria Ford is the chef and co-owner with husband Fred ("I have some experience in soul food") of Cebuana Filipino Store. Come in for the lunch special, maybe the Kare-Kare platter or the chicken ginger rice soup, and load up on martial arts videos. Maria cooks the old-fashioned way--cooking slowly and with her own prepared ingredients. In Austin, it is the unique Filipino grocery store/restaurant/video shop combination.

Directors
Rhea River, Jose Perez, Rachael Schroeder
Victory
Victory
Victory

Learning to read—and especially spell—English is hard for anyone. For native speakers of other languages, a little extra help is often required. The Victory tutoring program provides that help.

Director
John Johnson
Cuevas Produce
Cuevas Produce
Cuevas Produce

Cuevas Produce is a short documentary about a man who serves his community through his business. He works seven days a week, 365 days a year and approximately fourteen hours everyday. He has devoted his life to helping others and treasures his accolades more than gold.

Directors
Heather Saenz, Vanessa Orr, Mariah Taylor
Talk 60
Talk 60
Talk 60

JoJoe Johnson made his television debut on Austin Community Access in the second grade. Now, he hosts his own call-in show called “What’s On Your Mind,” where young people can talk about their troubles and concerns. Next, he says, he’ll be a famous television producer—on the way he’s happy hearing what Austin kids have to say.

Director
Henry Gayden
Rude Mechanicals
Rude Mechanicals
Rude Mechanicals

The Rude Mechanicals strives to be a different kind of theater company, one that works collaboratively to create unique artistic works.

Director
Adrian Rodriguez