East Austin Stories

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
Chispas
Chispas
Chispas
Director
Nisha Madhani
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
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
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
How Roller Derby Saved My Life
How Roller Derby Saved My Life
How Roller Derby Saved My Life

Roller Derby is alive and well in Austin and Rebecca Gutierrez (aka radioACTIVE) is here to talk about it. While it didn't exactly save her life, it definitely gave her another way to have some fun. Meet radioActive, Cherry Crush, and the other Hot Rod Honeys who are part of the txrollergirls.com scene.

Directors
Wayne Cheong, Jeb Kendrick
Yellow Bike Stories
Yellow Bike Stories
Yellow Bike Stories

One of the many great things about East Austin is that there are plenty of places to walk and bike. For many people, riding a bike is the ultimate form of freedom. It gets you where you need to go, you get some exercise, you're never stuck in traffic, and even if you have a crash, you've got a great story to tell.

Links:

Director
Danielle McMillen
Familia Aztlan
Familia Aztlan
Familia Aztlan

The artists at Aztlan Dance Company use tradition as their inspiration, but they don't let it constrain them. Instead, Director Roen Salinas and company start with dances from across Latin America, from Mexican folklorico to Argentina's tango, and use them to build their own choreography. The result is a unique statement that pays homage to the past while moving Austin's dance scene into the future.

Directors
Andrew Lasky, Manny Mendoza
The King Holds Court
The King Holds Court
The King Holds Court
Director
Amber Rademacher
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
American Dollars and Cokes
American Dollars and Cokes
American Dollars and Cokes

Arturo Escamilla came to this country for "American dollars and cokes", that is, to make a better life for his family.

Directors
Raul Ereivev, Josh New, Jordan Peterson
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
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
Life During Wartime
Life During Wartime
Life During Wartime

Manuel Almarez remembers what it’s like to be in a combat zone—sometimes all too vividly.

Director
Damon Garrett
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
Into the Vortex
Into the Vortex
Into the Vortex
Director
Zach Bowman
Historic Victory Grill and the Holmes Family
Historic Victory Grill and the Holmes Family
Historic Victory Grill and the Holmes Family

Johnny Holmes opened the doors of the Victory Grill in 1945, the first customers being Black servicemen from Fort Hood who were not allowed in the USO or other segregated Austin clubs. This portrayal of the people behind one of Austin's original spots offers a taste of authentic Blues and Jazz and down-home hospitality.

Directors
Carlyn Hudson, Creston Whittington, Benjamin Lyon, Hannah Kitziger
Transitions
Transitions
Transitions

Life is a process of changes: finishing school, going to college, having children, making a living. As Robert Mendoza and Cuquita Rangel explain, every change comes with rewards and struggles.

Directors
John Henicke, Markell Pool