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. 

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.

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Directors
Andrew Faldt,Adrian Rodriguez,Terrence Tang
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.

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Director
Carlos Cruz
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."

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Directors
Jennifer Gardner,Bryan Lozano
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.

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Director
Trey Green
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.

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Directors
David Tillman,Ryan Williams
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
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
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.

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Directors
Alexis Carreiro,Ruth Ann Knudsen
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.

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Directors
Aileen O'Conor,Esme Ramirez,James Stafford
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
Cowboy Donley
Cowboy Donley
Cowboy Donley

The father of Tejano music and the first Mexican-American rock n’ roll star in Texas, Manuel “Cowboy” Donley is a Lone Star legend. In this documentary, he shares his memories of the old days in Austin, as well his continued skill with a guitar.

Directors
Colin Lessing,Chad Sandahl
The History of the Green and White Store
The History of the Green and White Store
The History of the Green and White Store

The Cazares family has owned their grocery for three generations. In the beginning it was a place where Mexican-Americans could avoid discrimination and find the foods that reminded them of the old country. Now, it is a place where people can find the candles, powders, herbs, and other ingredients they need for esoteric spiritual pursuits.

Director
Elizabeth Lepe
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
Church of the Friendly Ghost
Church of the Friendly Ghost
Church of the Friendly Ghost
Directors
John Gross,Ginny Patrick
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
Bubba Stewardship Barbershop
Bubba Stewart Barbershop
Bubba Stewart Barbershop
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
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
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.

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Directors
Lauren Bigley,Adam Robinette
A Look at the Locals
A Look at the Locals
A Look at the Locals

Travelogue spoof meets mockumentary when the Crackers (""I'm John!"" ""I'm Jane!"") give a tour of East Austin. The filmmakers play the sunny, clueless hosts daring to cross I-35.

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Directors
Jonathan Culp,Alissa Davis
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
A Moment
A Moment
A Moment

Father J.C. Cain and Father Prado spend their lives in spiritual pursuits. But sometimes, spiritual experiences strike them without warning. Here, they tell the story of one mystical encounter.

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Director
Alec Dahl