THE BRICK PEOPLE traces the growth of California from the 19th to the 20th century through the founding and success of the Simons Brick Factory. This is also the story of Mexican immigrants who were the talented workers who had the opportunity to have good jobs in the United States as well as be on the receiving end of exploitation by this paternalistic employer. You might never have heard of the Simons Brick Factory, but if you live in Southern California or San Francisco you have without a doubt walked by or been inside a building constructed with their bricks.
ALESSANDRA MORALES-GUNZ wrote the screenplay but along the way it was decided we would make it into a documentary. She wrote the script and also served as the narrator. She was a film studies major at Columbia University and teaches Junior High School English in Orange County, California. Alessandra has intimate knowledge of the material as it is based upon her family history, captured in the book by Alejandro Morales, "The Brick People." Alessandra has several other screenplays in the works, including a powerful portrayal of photographer and revolutionary Tina Modotti, based upon the novel "Tinisima" by Elena Poniatowska.
MICHAEL KIRSCH is the director and editor and shot the principal photography. He heads the filmmaking team. Since graduating from Chapman University's film school, Mike has been a working professional, with credits including his editing work for the Academy Award nominated IMAX documentary“Dolphins” and camera related credits for a half dozen other IMAX documentaries. Mike has worked on many projects big and small, including feature films and commercials and was a member of the crew that shot a documentary on the headwaters of the Nile River in Ethiopia for an IMAX production company in Spain.
ART KIRSCH is the producer. Art spent many years as an executive in the computer graphics industry and during the past several years has produced In The Credits, an episodic series that interviews the generally unsung professionals who labor behind the scenes to create the magic of film, television and theater. He has also produced a short, Remembrance, about the effects of war on returning soldiers, and their families. Art is also a business consultant and is developing the arts and entertainment website OCshowbiz, as well as produces special events.
ALEJANDRO MORALES is regarded as one of the leading Chicano novelists because of his skill as a writer and his understanding of culture. He was born in Montebello, California, in the barrio of Simons, home to one of several brickyards owned by the Simons brothers. Morales grew up in East Los Angeles where he attended elementary and secondary schools. He earned a B.A. from California State University at Los Angeles and an M.A. (1973) and Ph.D. (1975) from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Alejandro is presently a full professor in the Spanish and Portuguese Department at the University of California, Irvine.