From Connecticut to Austin: Paris newest addition to Munday Library

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From Connecticut to Austin: Paris newest addition to Munday Library

Victoria Cavazos

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New faces at the Munday Library are rare.

Regulars frequent the familiar haunt daily while loyal student workers and staff reliably monitor the building’s proceedings.

Enter Paris Mygatt, the university’s most recent import. Mygatt is the library’s new Public Service Director. He is new to Austin, but he doesn’t seem foreign at all.

Although he grew up in the small town of Stamford, Connecticut, his musician status, penchant for tacos and experience running an independent video store place him comfortably on the Austin scene.

Weird, but not too weird, and equipped with a wealth of knowledge of both popular and indie film culture, Mygatt has the makings of a real Austinite. So it’s not surprising that he decided to live here after visiting on a road trip he took last year with a friend of his.

“I moved down here in June,” Mygatt said. “I was looking to get into an academic sort of environment.”

Mygatt, who worked at Media Wave Video in Connecticut for four years, said that his experience there was really helpful in getting his position at St. Edward’s.

Much of his film authority, too, is derived from his post at the store. There, Mygatt watched three to four films a day and often rewatched old ones.

He said the video store was unique because of its niche selection of films; Media Wave specialized in foreign and indie films, much like Vulcan video here in Austin.

“We went for having things that other people didn’t have,” Mygatt said. “[We] also liked having the staff be really knowledgeable so we could help people and make insightful recommendations. We tried to do things you could really only do in person.”

Mygatt’s mastery of movie history — akin to John Cusack’s obsession with vinyl in “High Fidelity” — extends past his persona at the video store. He even named his dog after one of his favorite film directors, whose films and critical essays were prominent during the French New Wave movement in cinema.

“Truffaut rules. My dog’s name is François Truffaut. I called him Tru. [The 400 Blows] was a good movie.”

Mygatt’s fascination with the French New Wave might have been anticipated by his parents, who aptly named him Paris, though even he isn’t entirely sure of their reasoning.

“I don’t actually know why [I was named Paris]. It’s come up over many years, and I never really get a solid answer,” Mygatt said. “The origin story is always kind of loose. I feel like every time I ask my mom she’ll give me a different answer.”

Often, Mygatt expounds his own theories about his first name.

“I sometimes go with the Troy thing because it’s easier,” he joked, referring to his theory that he was named after Paris of Troy, the mythological Greek who stole away the legendary Helen.

Besides his affinity for film and interesting namesake, Mygatt also wields a variety of digital skills. Before working at the library, he did freelance audio engineering and video editing.

He also produces his own short films, which he insists are “really weird.” Mygatt said he likes to experiment with inexpensive and creative approaches to filmmaking, having learned from watching others’ techniques and trying them out on his own.

Even though Mygatt is a fan of the “cheap and easy” way of making films, he is impressed by the library’s media services, arguably one of the most under-used resources on campus.

“The library is really beautiful. It has a good media collection and stuff,” Mygatt said. “I mean the computers you guys have are ridiculous! Video editing must rule on those computers upstairs.”

Despite his love of all things pertaining to the world of video, Mygatt lamented the exhausting and overwhelming volume of material.

“The saddest thing is that you’ll never be able to see even a fraction of the [movies],” Mygatt said. “There are so many. There are so many that don’t even exist anymore.”