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‘Slow Burn’ Explores the City of Austin Through Its Barbecue Joints

'Slow Burn' Explores the City of Austin Through Its Barbecue Joints

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Slow Burn

Logline: “Slow Burn” is a feature length documentary about the shifting urban landscape of Austin, Texas through the lens of one of its oldest institutions: barbecue.

Elevator Pitch: 
Austin, Texas. A rapidly growing city that sees its neighborhoods overflowing with yuppies, driving the local population to the outskirts. Nowhere is this more apparent than on Austin’s East Side. Slow Burn documents the motivations, passions, fears and dreams of the barbecue scene on the East Side. First and foremost, it is a love-letter to the craft of barbecue – what it is and what it will be. Secondly, it is a document of the changes Austin, Texas has seen for decades now, and how those changes in landscape affect the “state of barbecue.”

Production Team:
Jeff Mertz, Director/DP/Editor
Born in a small coastal town just north of the US-Mexico border, Jeff now works as a videographer and photographer in Austin, TX. Before attending the University of Texas at Austin to pursue a BS in Radio-TV-Film, he studied Biology at New York University, where he ultimately decided that he was better suited behind a camera than a microscope. He has now developed a number of documentary series for UT’s College of Natural Sciences. In 2013 he published Khalifa Supreme, a photo essay on land development in the United Arab Emirates. His photography and video work has been featured on the New York Times, Tumblr Open Arts, The Alcalde, and various video aggregate sites across the Web. He is also the founder of Equinox Film Festival, which just had its second run at the Museum of Human Achievement this past March. In summer 2016 he will join the Nes Artist Residency in Iceland, where he will direct an installation-driven documentary about the experience of youth in the small fishing village of Skagastrond.

Dio Traverso, Producer
Dio Traverso began working in documentary film production in 2007 with the short film, “The Windy City Rollers.” He continued working in documentary production for six years, culminating in the feature length “Invisible,” which followed the lives of sex workers in Providence, RI. “Invisible” premiered at the Rhode Island International Film Festival in 2014, where Dio was awarded the New England Filmmaker Award. Invisible had its southwestern premiere at AGLIFF this last fall. Dio is currently a 3rd year MFA student at the University of Texas at Austin, where he’s recently completed the short film, “Miles and the Monster.”

About the Film:
Too many charming, authentic and unique businesses and homes have been destroyed as a result of the whitewashing of the city’s landscape. We want people to fully comprehend the climate of gentrification, its costs and benefits, and how it is so far-reaching that it affects all aspects of our culture. By examining such a deep-rooted and fiercely loved tradition in a time of crisis, we’re really looking at what it’s like to be American in the generation of reverse white flight. We hope to contribute to a conversation that will ultimately preserve authentic American culture before it’s gone for good.

Current Status: Fundraising; in final stages of production.

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