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. 

ABAD Documentary
ABAD Documentary
ABAD Documentary

When Joe Vela saw a gang problem developing in Austin, he decided that teaching kids boxing was one way to get them off the streets. Through his organization, Austin Boxing Against Drugs, he estimates he helps about 600 kids a year to learn confidence and discipline through training.

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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
Feeding Austin
Feeding Austin
Feeding Austin

Paula and Glen Foore, owners of Texas Trees and Landscapes, created Springdale Farm, an organic farm, to help pay the bills and to create a better way of living for themselves and their community.

Directors
Juan Elizondo, Michelle Mejia, Rachael Schroeder
Into the Vortex
Into the Vortex
Into the Vortex
Director
Zach Bowman
What is Shorty's?
What is Shorty's?
What is Shorty's?
Playing Against the Sun
Playing Against the Sun
Playing Against the Sun

This documentary explores the intensity and eager enthusiasm of soccer Coach Juan Flores. Juan is a true believer in purity and the greatness of the sport; he coaches to create opportunities for young girls who come from diverse backgrounds and feels that soccer is a gateway to success.

Directors
Jonas-Hall Noreggaard, Brittany Hammer, Sergio Rabczuk
Climbin' Higher
Climbin' Higher
Climbin' Higher

The girls in the rock-climbing club at the Camacho Center have learned a lot. They learned to tie harnesses, to figure out routes, to push themselves when they're tired, and that boys just aren't that good at climbing.

Links:

Director
Julio Noboa
Geno's Too Hot to Trot
Geno's Too Hot to Trot
Geno's Too Hot to Trot

What is soul food? Even Gene Tumbs and Sandra Black, who cook it up on East Eleventh Street, have a hard time describing it. Sandra says it's a matter of seasoning, having just the right amount of onion and bacon. Gene says all it takes is some good, finger-licking gravy, like what Sandra uses to make her famous smothered pork chops. But whatever it is, diners say they're doing it right.

Links:

Directors
Lauren Bigley, Adam Robinette
NIOSA
NIOSA
NIOSA

While Austinites have to travel to experience A Night in Old San Antonio, many find that the music, performances, and fun of the celebration of Mexican culture is well worth it.

Director
Danny Tamez
Cab
Cab
Cab

A documentary about weathermen, psychiatrists, politicians, and professional talkers---or as we've come to know them, cab drivers. This is the story of the people who spend their lives on wheels.

Directors
Donovan Gentry, Meenakshi Ramamurthy, Merisa Ibrahimovic, Carol Means
Laying the Foundation
Laying the Foundation
Laying the Foundation

Champion boxer Ann Wolfe wasn't always on top of the world. On the contrary: boxing gave her a way out of poverty, personal tragedy, and homelessness. Now it gives her a way to share something with East Austin kids, and to live her philosophy that it's the people whose lives you touch that really make a difference. (And as an added bonus, it gives her a way to make fools of a lot of guys who think women can't box.)

Directors
Amy Khoshbin, Matthew Carey, Aaron Castillo
A Taco for Me
A Taco for Me
A Taco for Me
Director
Raul Ramirez
Skillpoint Alliance
Skillpoint Alliance
Skillpoint Alliance

This film documents the work of Skillpoint Alliances Community Technology Training Centers that have served more than 4,000 low-income and unemployed adults, while helping build the Information Technology capacity of the two under-resourced high schools--Reagan High School and Travis High School. The documentary narrates CTTCs work through the stories of past and current students, instructors and individuals who coordinate the program. You will hear stories of how these student lives have changed for the better because of the CCTC program.

Directors
Pete Elam, Emmet Campos
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
Holly
Holly
Holly

When the Holly power plant was built in the 1960s, no one in the city government cared that it was being located in a residential neighborhood in the heart of Mexican-American East Austin. In 2001, an accident at the plant reminded the city that the danger is still real, and raised the buried questions of environmental racism to the surface.

Directors
Apolinar Garza, Matthew Drenik, Kevin Terrill
World's Fastest Mexican
World's Fastest Mexican
World's Fastest Mexican

Is Austins Charlie Machado the worlds fastest Mexican? Thats what people call him in the motorcycle-racing world, where he routinely reaches speeds of 200 miles an hour—in 7 seconds or less. When hes not racing, Charlie loves working on his bikes, and teaching his son Chuy to renovate and rebuild high-performance cars and bikes.

Director
Daniel Del Favero
Por Media de mis Heridos
Por Media de mis Heridos
Por Media de mis Heridos

Since 1986, Casa Marianella has sheltered, among others, young men fleeing lethal gangs in Central America. This film shows how wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador and the waves of U.S. political asylum and deportation that followed gave rise to violent pandillas. Human rights activists explain how the issue has been distorted through binoculars of hype and machismo. Government crackdowns, they say, only punish the victims -- people like Osman, Jorge and Marlon, who have found refuge at Casa Marianella. Bearing los heridos (the scars) of gang membership, they are struggling to their feet in Austin, as students and as workers, sending support to their families back home.

Directors
Damien Brockmann, Maure Kennedy, Juan Valadez
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
Grito 2002: Celebration Salsa
Grito 2002: Celebration Salsa
Grito 2002: Celebration Salsa

Salsa is a lot of things for a lot of people. For Leila, it’s a way to show off her Mexican culture. For Carlos, it’s just something his whole family does. At Huston-Tillotson College, the celebration “Grito 2002” is also a way for African-American and Hispanic students, who don’t always mingle, to develop friendships.

Directors
Alexis Carreiro, Ruth Ann Knudsen, Jamie Lagesse, Josh Neu
Nokoa News and the Observer
Nokoa News and the Observer
Nokoa News and the Observer
Directors
Damien Brockman, Mary Ann McQuillan, Jack McWilliams, Chris Obel
Blurring the Lines
Blurring the Lines
Blurring the Lines

While East Austin is home to both African-Americans and Hispanics, both groups don't always intermingle. Community activists Juan Valadez and Boyd Vance decided to do something about it. By inviting both communities to celebrate cultural festivals like Mexican Independence Day and Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, they hope to make East Austin feel more like one big community than many fragmented groups.

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Directors
Wade Couturiaux, Rob Ripperda, David Tilman, Ryan Williams
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
La Tierra de Mis Hijos
La Tierra de Mis Hijos
La Tierra de Mis Hijos

People leave their homes and move to the United States for many reasons. As Francisco Rodriguez explains, the move may be difficult, but it also comes with rewards.

Directors
Raul Erivez, Eric Jenkins, Andrew Lasky, Amy Mullin, Steven Ray
reagan high
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.

Links:

Directors
Aileen O'Conor, Esme Ramirez, James Stafford