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. 

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
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
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
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
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.

Links:

Directors
David Tillman,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
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.

Links:

Directors
Aileen O'Conor,Esme Ramirez,James Stafford
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
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."

Links:

Directors
Jennifer Gardner,Bryan Lozano
Into the Vortex
Into the Vortex
Into the Vortex
Director
Zach Bowman
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
Church of the Friendly Ghost
Church of the Friendly Ghost
Church of the Friendly Ghost
Directors
John Gross,Ginny Patrick
Bubba Stewart Barbershop
Bubba Stewart Barbershop
Bubba Stewart Barbershop
La Botanica
La Botanica
La Botanica

John Cazeras is the owner of the Green and White. This East Austin landmark has changed roles over time. Formerly a neighborhood grocery store it now offers more esoteric goods, from herbs and incense to lucky candles and arcane artifacts. His clientele is growing. La India or La Mistica is one of his regular customers. She also has her own business in the store. She can break a curse or give you a reading. A film by Caitlin Diaz, Araceli Jaime,Lauren Pruitt, and Jazmine Ulloa.

Directors
Caitlin Diaz,Araceli Jaime,Jazmine Ulloa