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. 

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
Bikes Across Borders
Bikes Across Borders
Bikes Across Borders

Along the Texas-Mexico border, a bike is more than just a fun, convenient, free way to get around. For factory workers along the border, it provides an alternative to the company bus. Here's what happens when a group of East Austin bicycle activists decided to deliver a truckload of bikes to their neighbors to the south.

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Directors
David Tillman,Ryan Williams
5, 6, 7, 8. . . A Story of the Reagan High School Dance Team
5, 6, 7, 8... A Story of the Reagan High School Dance Team
5, 6, 7, 8... A Story of the Reagan High School Dance Team

The girls on the Reagan High School Dance Team get up early in the morning, and practice all week. But when they show the crowds what they've got, it's all worth it.

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Directors
Aileen O'Conor,Esme Ramirez,James Stafford
Crafting the Tradition
Crafting the Tradition
Crafting the Tradition

A glimpse into the Julia Hernandez's craft store that caters to quinceañeras in East Austin. Julia, a self-employed bussiness woman has built her little store up from a small booth at the local flea market. Today she, and her one employee, Veronica Barahona, offer a wide range of quinceañera materials and hand made supplies...from dresses to table decorations.

Directors
Juan Elizondo,Michelle Mejia,Rachael Schroeder
The Walls of East Austin
The Walls of East Austin
The Walls of East Austin

Across East Austin, murals and graffiti walls and buildings. Sometimes, like the mural on the Carver Library, they represent a community effort to beautify their neighborhood. Other wall-art, like graffiti, is a message from an individual artist. But all contribute to the vibrant visual atmosphere of East Austin.

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Directors
Andrew Faldt,Adrian Rodriguez,Terrence Tang
Community Policing
Community Policing
Community Policing

In any city, relations between communities and police can sometimes be tense. However, any community cares about safety. It is because of this that Austins police department has started a program to make its officers known and trusted by the community, rather than a source of fear.

Directors
Matthew Gray,Sammy Luciano
Soundmix
Soundmix
Soundmix

TC's Lounge is an old blues bar off of 12th Street in East Austin with a rich history and atmosphere that reflects the story of the city. This short portrait piece introduces the bar and some of its frequent clientele, focusing on Thomas Perkins, the dedicated owner of the place since the late seventies.

Director
Alicia Choina
In Search of Public Art
In Search of Public Art
In Search of Public Art
Director
Sean Cauthen
Playing Papi
Playing Papi
Playing Papi
Directors
Miguel Guajardo,Lane Genzlinger,Arlette Saucedo,Juan Valadez
For Me and Him
For Me and Him
For Me and Him
Directors
Helen Gagne,Jennifer Parales,Christina Kim
Nuevo Leon
Nuevo Leon
Nuevo Leon

It’s the American Dream—building a business from scratch and watching it grow. Over 18 years, the Nuevo Leon restaurant has developed a loyal customer base that makes Rachel Davila and Kevin Ortiz proud. Some day, they hope, generations of East Austin children will remember their special recipes and personal service.

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Director
Terence Tang
Mentor
Mentor
Mentor
Bubba Stewart Barbershop
Bubba Stewart Barbershop
Bubba Stewart Barbershop
Debt and Roomates
Debt and Roomates
Debt and Roomates

Any roommate situation has its ups and downs. And that’s all the more true when people who live together are struggling financially. In this film, Fletch, David, and Cisco explain how hard it can be to sort out a communal debt.

Directors
Damon Garrett,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.

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Directors
Jonathan Culp,Alissa Davis
Behind the Velvet Ropes
Behind the Velvet Ropes
Behind the Velvet Ropes

Venus Velvet is the burlesque review stage name for Marita De La Torre. Marita plays at that personality for fun but is also a serious advocate of children and the arts as director of LUPE Arte, Latina Unidas Por El Arte.

Director
Alisha Brophy
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
Clarence
Clarence
Clarence

"Every song tells a story," says Clarence Pierce of East Austin blues band The Eastside Kings. While he normally lets his guitar do the talking, in this documentary he accompanies his music with stories.. "However you want it to sound, you work on it and perfect it…you got the Blues."

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Directors
Jennifer Gardner,Bryan Lozano
Save Our Youth
Save Our Youth
Save Our Youth
Directors
Emmet Campos,Pete Elam
In the Shadow of Downtown
In the Shadow of Downtown
In the Shadow of Downtown
Directors
David Elkins,Chris Case
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.

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Directors
Sean Cunningham,Ryan Jarrell,Sam Shaffer