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. 

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
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
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.

Links:

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
Fire Island
Fire Island
Fire Island

At Fire Island Hot Glass Studio, Matthew LaBarbera and Teresa Ueltschney work together to build their glass-blowing business and develop their art. Sometimes it's hard, but they love it when customers appreciate their work, and appreciate the chance to make a living doing what they love.

Directors
Sunhee Cho, Mike Cintron, Lisette Garza, Drew Masada
Making the Grade
Making the Grade
Making the Grade
Directors
Taylor black, Sweta Vohra, Caroline Hoffman, Lindsay Stillman
Tattooing from the Heart
Tattooing from the Heart
Tattooing from the Heart

Some people do their art on paper, canvas, or glass. Arnoldo Carrillo does his art on skin, where his intricate, lifelike tattoos inspire admiration and repeat business. He knows that he loses some business because some people won't go over to the East side. Too bad for them, they miss Arnoldo's art as well as his ideas on life.

Visit the web site of Arnoldo's businesss, Shades of Grey Dermagraphics

Directors
Eric Jenkins, Steven Ray
LBJ High School - A Look at Two Sides
LBJ High School - A Look at Two Sides
LBJ High School - A Look at Two Sides

LBJ High School in East Austin has a magnet program and a non-magnet program in one building. The magnet school draws kids from all over Austin, while the non-magnet is mainly local students. Students from both schools discuss their high school experience.

Directors
Vanessa Orr, Mariah Taylor
Soccer
Soccer
Soccer
Directors
Jonas-Hall Noreggaard, Brittany Hammer, Sergio Rabczuk
Hands Off My Home
Hands Off My Home
Hands Off My Home

Darwin Hamilton struggles with the City of Austin over an eminent domain abuse case of his property at 912 East 11th St.

Directors
Jessie Pollak, Gerald Martinez, Alex Skalomenos
Raised on Public Access
Raised on Public Access
Raised on Public Access

JoJoe Johnson hosts a call-in show for teens on cable access TV. Even though he sometimes has to field calls from racist viewers, he would never consider quitting, and considers it a tremendous opportunity to hone his communication and hosting skills.

Director
Henry Gayden
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
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
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.

Links:

Directors
Wade Couturiaux, Rob Ripperda, David Tilman, Ryan Williams
A Taco for Me
A Taco for Me
A Taco for Me
Director
Raul Ramirez
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
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
Sanamiento Espiritual
Sanamiento Espiritual
Sanamiento Espiritual
Director
Phyllis Holloway Hawkins
Hot Type
Hot Type
Hot Type
Director
Anita Prewett
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 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.

Links:

Directors
Andrew Faldt, Adrian Rodriguez, Terrence Tang