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. 

On the Bus
On the Bus
On the Bus
Director
Alissa Davis
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:

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.

Links:

Directors
Sean Cunningham, Ryan Jarrell, Sam Shaffer
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
Cuevas Produce
Cuevas Produce
Cuevas Produce

Cuevas Produce is a short documentary about a man who serves his community through his business. He works seven days a week, 365 days a year and approximately fourteen hours everyday. He has devoted his life to helping others and treasures his accolades more than gold.

Directors
Heather Saenz, Vanessa Orr, Mariah Taylor
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
Celebration of our Future
Celebration of our Future
Celebration of our Future

Education should be a lifelong process, one that begins before kindergarten. At the Ebenezer Baptist Church Child Development Center, the staff provide children with a place to play and learn from very early childhood

Directors
Christine Castano, DJ Carwille
Americanos
Americanos
Americanos

Museums are a place we can see ourselves for what we are, says Edward James Olmos. At Mexic-arte Museum, visitors can see the many ways Americans—who Olmos explains are all the people who inhabit the North and South American continents—represent themselves and their cultures.

Links:

Director
John Benner
Filipino Soul Food
Filipino Soul Food
Filipino Soul Food

Maria Ford is the chef and co-owner with husband Fred ("I have some experience in soul food") of Cebuana Filipino Store. Come in for the lunch special, maybe the Kare-Kare platter or the chicken ginger rice soup, and load up on martial arts videos. Maria cooks the old-fashioned way--cooking slowly and with her own prepared ingredients. In Austin, it is the unique Filipino grocery store/restaurant/video shop combination.

Directors
Rhea River, Jose Perez, Rachael Schroeder
Victory
Victory
Victory

Learning to read—and especially spell—English is hard for anyone. For native speakers of other languages, a little extra help is often required. The Victory tutoring program provides that help.

Director
John Johnson
Mt. Olive Baptist Church
Mt. Olive Baptist Church
Mt. Olive Baptist Church
Directors
Trey Bennett, Michelle Berg, Daniel Hanna, Jason King, Sylvia Le
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
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
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
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
What is Shorty's?
What is Shorty's?
What is Shorty's?
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
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