Jan 17

Ed Hugetz film festival

See and learn about University of Houston – Downtown’s Ed Hugetz film festival, featuring several of our films.

February 17, 2017
5:30 PM
University of Houston-Downtown
O’Kane Theatre
One Main Building, 3rd Floor

And here’s some nice commentary about Alligator-Horses by Johanna Schmertz, associate professor of English at UHD:

Paralleling the work of the cultural historians it includes (e.g. important figures like Carroll-Smith Rosenberg, Eric Lott, and Richard Slotkin), Brian Huberman and Ed Hugetz’s documentary Alligator-Horses writes a cultural history of the violence and class warfare on which the United States has been built. Alligator-Horses may be seen as a chronicle of the dispossessed white male, a figure that moves between poles of savagery and civilization in a contest over the role and definition of masculinity in the United States. Primarily focusing on 1830-1840, the period during which the United States moves toward industrial capitalism, Hugetz and Huberman tell their story through archival materials like almanacs, maps, paintings and penny newspaper stories.


Though – like Ken Burns – they use archival sources to document and depict a time long gone, Hugetz and Huberman resist Burns’ linear style of storytelling in favor of a thematic Eisensteinian montage approach in which events depicted “don’t belong together and certainly didn’t happen one after another” (Huberman and Hugetz). As Huberman’s daughter tells him after seeing a rough cut of the film, only the unifying figure of Davy Crockett keeps the movie’s broad cast of characters from becoming a set of historical footnotes. She suggests Alligator Horses be seen as a dance – specifically, a square dance (and you’ll hear Hugetz talk about what this means for the film’s structure).




Apr 16

Notes From An “Alamo” Survivor

“To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World…

I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna…The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken…I shall never surrender or retreat…” –William B. Travis, Commandancy of the Alamo

My name is Brian Huberman and I am a survivor of Eagle Pennell’s, Last Night at the Alamo. Like the defenders of the Alamo in 1836 I am putting out a call to the people of Texas and all Americans in the world to remember the original filmmakers who struggled to make this film during the summer of 1982. This band of brothers and sisters include names now mostly forgotten like Phil Davis, Tina Brawner, Lou Perryman, Kim Henkel, Ed Hugetz and myself. The glory they won for this project at the New York Film Festival and the Park City now Sundance Festival is being usurped by pretenders who claim the film for themselves. Louis Black of Louis Black Productions and Mark Rance of Watchmaker Films claim to have restored Last Night at the Alamo with the help of Texas filmmaker, Rick Linklater.

Speaking at SXSW 2016 screening of Eagle Pennell's Last Night At The Alamo

Speaking at SXSW 2016 screening of Eagle Pennell’s Last Night At The Alamo (second from left). Thanks to Alfred Cervantes for sharing the photo.

On March 14 of this year I was invited by Louis Black Productions to attend a screening of the restored version of Last Night at the Alamo at the Ritz cinema as part of SXSW 2016. As cinematographer of the film I was unaware that a restoration was necessary as I had only recently deposited two original prints of the film in the Wittliff Collection at the Texas State University in San Marcus. The Independent Film Channel currently own the rights to the film and possess the 35 mm negative. Last Night at the Alamo didn’t require restoration it only needed a new print struck from the negative.

The SXSW screening was well attended and a digital copy of the film managed to entertain despite a couple of soft focus shots revealing glitches in the transfer process. Following the screening Leonard Maltin, long time friend of Louis Black invited the “restorers” on stage to bask in their glory as if they had been the actual filmmakers. Finally I climbed onto the stage unannounced in an attempt to remind the audience who the actual filmmakers were.

Had I seen the poster that had been made for the restored film (shown below) I would have already known what a blatant act of theft had transpired. None of the original film crew who did the hard work are included.

12993442_10208655426126130_9173034958740812727_nThese film pirates have invented a restoration where none was needed in order to justify their appropriation of this important work of early Texas independent filmmaking.

Like Travis at the Alamo, I am calling for help to make this right…” I shall have to fight the enemy on his own terms…and if my countrymen do not rally to my relief…my bones shall reproach my country for her neglect.” Travis.

Sep 14

Alligator-Horses DVD Now Available!

Alligator-Horses DVD cover design by Carlos Hernandez

You have heard of Davy Crockett, “King of the Wild Frontier.” Alligator-Horses tells the story of David Crockett, the U.S. congressman who, years before his famous stand at the Alamo, campaigned against Andrew Jackson and fought for the cause of the poor in West Tennessee.

Alligator-Horses, a feature-length documentary film by Brian Huberman and Ed Hugetz, presents a vivid collage of stories and interviews with scholars and historians that reveal the 1830s as a pivotal decade in American history, when a growing underclass first began to struggle against the invisible grip of the “aristocracy” and emerging industrial capitalism.

Retracing Crockett’s political tour of the Northeast and examining the comic almanacs that first popularized him as an urban working class hero, the film recounts lesser known events from the “Age of Jackson,” including early labor strikes organized by women, the rise of the blackface minstrel show, anti-abolitionist riots in New York, and the scandalous murder of a prostitute that evolved into something like an O.J. Simpson trial of its time.

In our present decade, the “Occupy” movement speaks out against man-made forces that create income inequality and secure the status of the “one percent.” Alligator-Horses argues such a division has been present in America for almost 200 years, since a time when the national identity was in the midst of an ornery, anarchistic adolescence.

This experimental documentary, 14 years in the making, may look at a small slice of the American story. But in its weave of past materials into the present, it gives us a larger scope through which to examine history—and, by extension, ourselves.

FILM INTERVIEWS INCLUDE: social historian Eric Lott; New York Times bestselling author David Shields; cultural critic and historian Richard Slotkin; professor emerita of History, American Culture, and Women’s Studies, Carroll Smith-Rosenberg; historian, author and former New York firefighter Capt. William Groneman…and many more.


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Feb 14

Alligator-Horses: New Documentary Film Premieres In Houston

Alligator-Horses Brian Huberman documentaryA film nearly 15 years in the making, Alligator-Horses is an epic documentary film about 1830s America and the lesser known events from the period that continue to influence our national identity today.

Download full press release.

Don’t miss the premiere which, in addition to a film screening, features a public discussion with the filmmakers, Brian Huberman and Ed Hugetz, and interviewees from the film: author David Shields and scholar Carroll Smith-Rosenberg.

RSVP on Facebook (optional).

Film poster designed by Carlos Hernandez 

Film screening & reception: 6:00 p.m., March 21, 2014 @ Rice Media Center

Conference: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., March 22, 2014 (same location)

All events are free and open to the public.

Dec 13

Alligator-Horses Premieres March 21

Alligator Horses Conference

Join us for the premiere of Alligator-Horses at Rice Media Center on Friday, March 21, 2014 (6-10pm). The film screening will be followed by a reception. And on Saturday, March 22 (9am-4pm), invited scholars and members of Rice faculty will discuss the film.

Alligator-Horses is a documentary about the so-called raunchy youth of 1830s America viewed through the lens of the first decade of the twenty-first century. Materials used to evoke our perspective of the time period include Penny Press newspapers, Davy Crockett Almanacs, Blackface minstrel songs and a cast of contemporary scholars including Rice Faculty and students. The three-hour documentary is structured around famous and lesser-known events, including King Phillip’s War, Davy Crockett’s tour of the northeast, the murder of New York prostitute Helen Jewett, Jim Crow at the Bowery Theater and the Anti-Abolition riots of 1834.

If you are interested in attending the film screening and conference, please RSVP via our contact form.