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. 

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
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
Mentor
Mentor
Mentor
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
Soundmix
Soundmix
Soundmix

TC's Lounge is an old blues bar off of 12th Street in East Austin with a rich history and atmosphere that reflects the story of the city. This short portrait piece introduces the bar and some of its frequent clientele, focusing on Thomas Perkins, the dedicated owner of the place since the late seventies.

Director
Alicia Choina
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
In Search of Public Art
In Search of Public Art
In Search of Public Art
Director
Sean Cauthen
Playing Papi
Playing Papi
Playing Papi
Directors
Miguel Guajardo, Lane Genzlinger, Arlette Saucedo, Juan Valadez
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
For Me and Him
For Me and Him
For Me and Him
Directors
Helen Gagne, Jennifer Parales, Christina Kim
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
On the Bus
On the Bus
On the Bus
Director
Alissa Davis
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
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
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.

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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
Save Our Youth
Save Our Youth
Save Our Youth
Directors
Emmet Campos, Pete Elam
Church of the Friendly Ghost
Church of the Friendly Ghost
Church of the Friendly Ghost
Directors
John Gross, Ginny Patrick
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.

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Directors
Sean Cunningham, Ryan Jarrell, Sam Shaffer
Bubba Stewardship Barbershop
Bubba Stewart Barbershop
Bubba Stewart Barbershop
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

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Director
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
Eastside Pride
Eastside Pride
Eastside Pride

Perla Arpero is a senior at the recently re-named Eastside Memorial High School. Eastside is a troubled school fighting for its existence and that has a profound effect on the students. Perla talks about her hopes for her school and her community. Made by Jazmine Ulloa and Rita Chapa.

Directors
Ulloa Jazmine, Rita Chapa