Presented by the UT Doc Center and Austin Film Society.
It’s time for our nearly-annual roundup of the always delightful/often enlightening ten short documentaries coming out of the University of Texas. The rule is generally that the length of each film should be no more than ten minutes, but we let a few slightly longer ones through because of their excellence. In an hour and a half you have the opportunity to see a wide range of styles in documentary filmmaking – from pure verite documentary to experimental. Subjects will range from serious to comic. These films prove that Austin continues to attract really talented, engaged filmmakers. Many of the directors will be in attendance for a rousing discussion of their films following the screening. – Chale Nafus, Director of Programming, Austin Film Society
Directed by Jing Yang, 13:25 min.
“A group of tea house patrons in a fast-developing mid-size city in China learn that their historical tea house is to be demolished to make way for a grand bridge.” Every American city has its own development/preservation battles going on, but China seems intent on obliterating practically everything in the path of 21st Century progress. Some valuable cultural traditions and community gathering places are consequently disappearing.
MIRAGES ON THE SEA OF TIME
Directed by Deepak Chetty, 3:45
“An experimental short film shot during a cross continental journey which becomes a meditation on the inner world of memory.” Beautiful integration of images, words, and theme.
NOSOTROS TAMBÍEN MIGRAMOS
Directed by Elvia Mendoza, 13:23
Two gay partners and their daughter face almost insurmountable odds in keeping the family together in the US because of the strict immigration laws and insensitive interpretations. This well-made doc puts human faces on the statistics and generic news stories about immigration.
Directed by Nathan Efstation, 11:00
“Explores the process of training for the Texas Special Olympics.” Success and accomplishment can be found in many places, and these examples are some of the most heart-warming.
HER NAME WAS MAX
Directed by Shayan Asgharnia, 10:23
The Virginia Tech massacre of 2007 certainly touched many lives. Here we see John Woods who talks quietly about the loss of a close friend, but he also eloquently speaks out against allowing students to carry guns on campus, a knee-jerk proposal from the pro-gun lobby after the shootings.
Directed by Deja Bernhardt, 15:16
Joe Esposito spent many wonderful years working for his war buddy. Since that buddy was Elvis Presley, you can be sure that his life would never be the same. With a visit to Graceland (outside), Joe tells us lots of new stories and the horror of that final day, illustrated by numerous Presley home movies never seen elsewhere.
THEM FALLEN ROCKS
Directed by Jack Reynolds, 6:05
Even though her father nearly died pursuing his favorite sport of rock climbing, his daughter carries on with the tradition, while soberly aware of the dangers mixed with thrills.
LET ME FINISH
Directed by Alex Murphy, 13:45
Not so long ago (yesterday) stuttering was a cheap and thoughtless target for humor in films and TV shows. This doc shows how it’s really not so funny after all and presents a group of people experiencing speech therapy and telling the rest of the world to “just let me finish my sentence in my own way.”
Directed by Evan Roberts, 9:33
“High-adrenaline activities help recently returned soldiers adjust to civilian life.” The sky-diving sequences are thrilling and the paintball battles are illuminating.
NEW IN TOWN
Directed by Elizabeth Bolton, 10:16
The director tells her own story in this fascinating doc. Growing up in a small Oklahoma town, Elizabeth met and fell in love with a young man from Pakistan. When he asked her to marry him, she said “Yes” and set out on an amazing journey, not just to another country, but into a culture she knew little about.