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
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
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
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
Change
Change
Change

Marshal Rawlins had it rough for a long time. He struggled with drugs and spent time in jail. He lost his parents, and watched his sisters pay for their addictions with prostitution. But finally, something changed inside him, and he started to turn his life around. Even if he didnt achieve all he once dreamed, the lonely man with a bucket collecting change for charity on the intersection of IH-35 and Highway 183 still believes he has much to teach his children and acquaintances.

Director
J.D. Krilo
a.k.a. Venus Velvet
a.k.a. Venus Velvet
a.k.a. Venus Velvet
Directors
Alisha Brophy,Kevin Pinkerton
Historic Victory Grill and the Holmes Family
Historic Victory Grill and the Holmes Family
Historic Victory Grill and the Holmes Family

Johnny Holmes opened the doors of the Victory Grill in 1945, the first customers being Black servicemen from Fort Hood who were not allowed in the USO or other segregated Austin clubs. This portrayal of the people behind one of Austin's original spots offers a taste of authentic Blues and Jazz and down-home hospitality.

Directors
Carlyn Hudson,Creston Whittington,Benjamin Lyon,Hannah Kitziger
Transitions
Transitions
Transitions

Life is a process of changes: finishing school, going to college, having children, making a living. As Robert Mendoza and Cuquita Rangel explain, every change comes with rewards and struggles.

Directors
John Henicke,Markell Pool
Daniel Gomez
Daniel Gomez
Daniel Gomez
Directors
Alisha Brophy,Jeb Kendrick,Kevin Pinkerton,Wayne Cheong
Stories Alive
Stories Alive
Stories Alive
Directors
Christina Kim,Mary Ann McQuillan,Roger Timm
Sanamiento Espiritual
Sanamiento Espiritual
Sanamiento Espiritual
Director
Phyllis Holloway Hawkins
Hot Type
Hot Type
Hot Type
Director
Anita Prewett
Peter and Smiley
Peter and Smiley
Peter and Smiley
Directors
Rose Saenz,Matt Castro
Memories are More Vivid at Night
Memories are More Vivid at Night
Memories are More Vivid at Night
Director
Mary Ann McQuillan
The Great Divide
The Great Divide
The Great Divide
Letters for Las Manitas
Letters for Las Manitas
Letters for Las Manitas
Directors
Jeff Gipson,Joshua Tate,Yuta Yamaguchi
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