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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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