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. 

In the Shadow of Downtown
In the Shadow of Downtown
In the Shadow of Downtown
Directors
David Elkins, Chris Case
Bubba Stewardship Barbershop
Bubba Stewart Barbershop
Bubba Stewart Barbershop
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
La Botanica
La Botanica
La Botanica

John Cazeras is the owner of the Green and White. This East Austin landmark has changed roles over time. Formerly a neighborhood grocery store it now offers more esoteric goods, from herbs and incense to lucky candles and arcane artifacts. His clientele is growing. La India or La Mistica is one of his regular customers. She also has her own business in the store. She can break a curse or give you a reading. A film by Caitlin Diaz, Araceli Jaime,Lauren Pruitt, and Jazmine Ulloa.

Directors
Caitlin Diaz, Araceli Jaime, Jazmine Ulloa
George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center
George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center
George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center

It’s always Black History Month at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center. With exhibits on jazz, quilts, the visual arts, and much more, the museum celebrates the contributions of African-Americans to Texan and American culture

Links:

Director
Michael Pope
A Look at the Locals
A Look at the Locals
A Look at the Locals

Travelogue spoof meets mockumentary when the Crackers (""I'm John!"" ""I'm Jane!"") give a tour of East Austin. The filmmakers play the sunny, clueless hosts daring to cross I-35.

Links:

Directors
Jonathan Culp, Alissa Davis
On the Bus
On the Bus
On the Bus
Director
Alissa Davis
Cowboy Donley
Cowboy Donley
Cowboy Donley

The father of Tejano music and the first Mexican-American rock n’ roll star in Texas, Manuel “Cowboy” Donley is a Lone Star legend. In this documentary, he shares his memories of the old days in Austin, as well his continued skill with a guitar.

Directors
Colin Lessing, Chad Sandahl
The History of the Green and White Store
The History of the Green and White Store
The History of the Green and White Store

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
Life's Lessons
Life's Lessons
Life's Lessons

At Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, there's a lot more going on than religious services. One of the many ways the community uses the church is for an after-school tutoring program where older students help younger ones—and learn a lot in the process.

Links:

Church of the Friendly Ghost
Church of the Friendly Ghost
Church of the Friendly Ghost
Directors
John Gross, Ginny Patrick
Chispas
Chispas
Chispas
Director
Nisha Madhani
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
Capirotada
Capirotada
Capirotada

Yolanda Solis is a fourth-generation Mexican-American. Alejandro Mendez is a recent immigrant from Mexico. Both face the quintessential American challenge: surviving junior high. In this documentary, they talk about their families, their lives, their perceptions of other races, and what their Mexican heritage means to them.

Directors
Melissa Aellos, Laura Donnelly
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
Eastside Pride
Eastside Pride
Eastside Pride

Perla Arpero is a senior at the recently re-named Eastside Memorial High School. Eastside is a troubled school fighting for its existence and that has a profound effect on the students. Perla talks about her hopes for her school and her community. Made by Jazmine Ulloa and Rita Chapa.

Directors
Ulloa Jazmine, Rita Chapa
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
A Moment
A Moment
A Moment

Father J.C. Cain and Father Prado spend their lives in spiritual pursuits. But sometimes, spiritual experiences strike them without warning. Here, they tell the story of one mystical encounter.

Links:

Director
Alec Dahl
Mt. Olive Baptist Church
Mt. Olive Baptist Church
Mt. Olive Baptist Church
Directors
Trey Bennett, Michelle Berg, Daniel Hanna, Jason King, Sylvia Le
El Dia de Los Muertos
El Dia de Los Muertos
El Dia de Los Muertos

It's a day to celebrate death, and a day to celebrate life. It's Dia de los Muertos, when Mexican-Americans in East Austin remember deceased loved ones with music, dancing, religious services, and food at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

Links:

Visit the web site of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church

Teachers! Check out this lesson plan for Dia de los Muertos activities.

Director
Wade Couturiaux
The Juan and Only
The Juan and Only
The Juan and Only
Directors
Melissa Woodward, Laura Kincaid, Jack McWilliams
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
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