Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding Aid for the Isaac Artenstein Papers 1983 - 1990
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (141.49 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Related Material
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Isaac Artenstein Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1983 - 1990
    Collection number: 86
    Creator: Isaac Artenstein 1954-
    Extent: Approx. 10 linear feet
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
    Abstract: This collection of papers, film and video relates mainly to the motion picture director Isaac Artenstein's production of Break of Dawn, his biographical film about the life and times of Pedro J. Gonzalez. Researchers who would like to indicate errors of fact or omissions in this finding aid can contact the research center at www.chicano.ucla.edu
    Physical location: Currently stored at the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Archive. In the future this collection will be stored off site at the UCLA Southern Regional Library Facility. Film and video materials are stored at the UCLA Film and Television Archive offices. If you wish to access one of our special collections, please contact us before you visit, as we may need time to retrieve the materials.
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English , Spanish


    Collection is open for research.To view the collection or any part of it, please contact the CSRC at http://www.chicano.ucla.edu/

    Publication Rights

    For students and faculty researchers of UCLA, all others by permission only. Copyright has not been assigned to the Chicano Studies Research Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Archivist and/or the Librarian at the Chicano Studies Research Center Library. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Isaac Artenstein Papers, 86, Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Acquisition Information

    Collection donated by Isaac Artenstein to the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Library Archive. Deed on file at the archive office.


    Isaac Artenstein studied painting and photography at UCLA and film and video production at Cal Arts. He wrote and directed the feature film Break of Dawn (1990), a biography of Pedro J. Gonzalez, a pioneer of Los Angeles' Spanish-language radio in the 1930s, which premiered at Sundance and was later shown on Telemundo and the BBC. He produced the romantic comedy Love Always (1996) which aired on the Lifetime Channel, the thriller Bloody Proof (2000) for Univision, and the social satire A Day Without A Mexican (2004). Artenstein has also directed and/or produced a number of award-winning documentaries, including Diana Kennedy: Cuisines of Mexico (1981) and Ballad of an Unsung Hero (1983), as well as In the Name of the People (1985), narrated by Martin Sheen. He has taught film production and directing at the University of Southern California and the University of California at San Diego, and was a founding member of the Border Arts Workshop in San Diego. Currently, Artenstein is developing a feature film based on his 1991 play Under a Brilliant Sky, about the photographers Tina Modotti and Edward Weston. His documentary Tijuana Jews had its premiere at the San Diego Jewish Film Festival in February 2005.

    Related Material

    The Pedro J. Gonzalez Papers
    This independent feature film, produced during what has come to be known as the "Hispanic Decade," dramatizes the true story of Pedro J. González, the first Spanish-language radio host and recording star of 1930s Los Angeles, who was framed by the District Attorney's office and sent to San Quentin. Starring Oscar Chávez, María Rojo, Tony Plana, and Pepe Serna. The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 1988. A former telegraph operator for Pancho Villa, Gonzales comes with his wife to the United States to escape the political turmoil and economic hardships of life in Mexico. He manages to launch his own radio program in Los Angeles, "Los Madrugadores." It is not long before the corrupt district attorney, in his bid for re-election, buys airtime on Gonzalez show. The Spanish advertisements, read by the now-famous Gonzalez, turn out to be instrumental in mobilizing the Hispanic vote and ensuring the re-election of the district attorney. However, as the depression deepens, the Latino community becomes an easy scapegoat for the local right wing. Over half a million Latino workers, whose presence had been crucial in building the Californian economy, are deported. Gonzalez begins attending rallies and he uses his radio show to protest the treatment of Latinos. Suddenly, he is viewed as a threat by the establishment, which decides to silence him.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Break of Dawn
    Isaac Artenstein
    Latino filmmaker
    Los Madrugadoras
    Pancho Villa
    Pedro J. Gonzalez
    Spanish language broadcasting