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. 

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
Daniel Gomez
Daniel Gomez
Daniel Gomez
Directors
Alisha Brophy, Jeb Kendrick, Kevin Pinkerton, Wayne Cheong
Stories Alive
Stories Alive
Stories Alive
Directors
Christina Kim, Mary Ann McQuillan, Roger Timm
Change
Change
Change

Marshal Rawlins had it rough for a long time. He struggled with drugs and spent time in jail. He lost his parents, and watched his sisters pay for their addictions with prostitution. But finally, something changed inside him, and he started to turn his life around. Even if he didnt achieve all he once dreamed, the lonely man with a bucket collecting change for charity on the intersection of IH-35 and Highway 183 still believes he has much to teach his children and acquaintances.

Director
J.D. Krilo
a.k.a. Venus Velvet
a.k.a. Venus Velvet
a.k.a. Venus Velvet
Directors
Alisha Brophy, Kevin Pinkerton
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
Helado
Helado
Helado

Nothing like the ice cream truck on a hot Texas day.  Our crew rides along with ice cream truck drivers through the neighborhood.  What's your favorite?  A cherry chill cup? 

Directors
Megan Bennett, Traci Duran, Tony Faia, Landry Gideon
fEAST
fEAST
fEAST

An abstract portrait of East Austin to a techno soundtrack--a little dreamy, a little gritty. 

Directors
Araceli Jamie, James H. Ruiz
Meander
Meander
Meander
Directors
Toni De Atzlan, Diane Zilliox, Ed Boisvenue, Trevor Gureckis
Lucha Libre
Lucha Libre
Lucha Libre

Lucha Libre is the Mexican tradition of masked wrestling.  Stars of Lucha Libre are legendary.  But how do you get into the business?  Every week wrestlers, pro and amateur, come to QFC Lucha Libre to train and for matches. Meet professionals Mascarita Suprema, Monje Diabólico, Blacteria and hopefuls training hard to make it.

Directors
Jeff Yano, Jerry Garcia
La Casa Lopez
La Casa Lopez
La Casa Lopez

When the developers came knocking, Senora Lopez said no. She spent her whole life working to buy her house, and she's going to die there. Even as the rest of the block is razed, and plans progress for a high-rise, her bungalow on Ninth Street stands as testament to her force of will.

Directors
Andrew Cadelago, Lauren Hardy, Isaac Simon
Nubian Queen Lo La
Nubian Queen Lo La
Nubian Queen Lo La

It is nearly impossible to pass the Chicon-Rosewood intersection in East Austin without noticing the purple, alligator-laden restaurant on the corner. The restaurant's name is Nubian Queen Lo-La's Cajun Kitchen, and its vibrant decor only begins to reflect the spirit of its homeless operator. Relying on the "angels" in her community to help sustain her financially, Lozina "Lo-La" Stephens feeds the hungry and homeless every Sunday and expresses her love every day through her food.

Winner, Best Documentary. The 15 Short Film Festival, Charlotte, NC.

Links:

Directors
Jeff Gipson, Alexander Skalomenos, Joshua Tate, Robert Travis
Lives Torn
Lives Torn
Lives Torn

Luissana Santibañez’s family is torn apart when their mother is arrested and detained in the infamous Hutto immigration detention center, near Houston  Luissana must now care for her three siblings, all U.S. citizens, using her student loans and welfare.  What has happened to Luissana’s family is happening to families all across America.

Luissana’s parents are both Mexican nationals with no green card.  When her father is deported, her mother is forced to find employment to support her family. Luciana’s mother was arrested by ICE officials during a routine traffic accident involving the van in which she was riding.   She has been detained for the past 15 months. If their mother gets deported, the Santibañez children will be forced to move to Mexico, a country and culture they do not know, radically changing their educations and their futures.

Directors
Luissana Santibanez, Jenny Alvarado, Sarah Lim
The Light of Montopolis
The Light of Montopolis
The Light of Montopolis

Florence Ponziano turned her house in the Montopolis neighborhood into "The Comfort House."  Part living art museum, kids' playground, rest stop for the weary, and home sweet home. 

Directors
Lauren Pruitt, Caitlin Diaz, Jordan Garcia, John Fitch
Llevame al Rio
Llevame al Rio
Llevame al Rio

La Llorona, "The Weeping Woman" is a notorious Mexican ghost tale.  Part cautionary tale, part social commentary, part curfew enforcer for the children, the story is told all through central and south Texas, too.  Montopolis residents tell their versions and their brushes with "La Llorona"! 

Directors
Rita Chapa, Geoff Yano, James Ruiz