Award-winning The Labyrinth screens at 2011 Religion Today Film Festival (Oct. 14-26) in Italy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHICAGO, IL (September 28, 2011) - The Labyrinth, the award-winning 37-minute documentary short on Polish Catholic artist and Auschwitz survivor Marian Kolodziej by award-winning documentary filmmaker Jason A. Schmidt, which received its world premiere at IDA DocuWeeks 2010 in Hollywood, screens at the 2011 Religion Today Film Festival on Monday, October 17th at 4:45 PM in the Teatro Cuminetti, Trent, Italy. For Religion Today Film Festival information on tickets, screening times and venues, please visit: www.religiontoday.com
The Labyrinth received its world premiere on August 13th, 2010 at the International Documentary Association’s 14th Annual DocuWeeks™ Shorts 2010 Theatrical Documentary Showcase, Hollywood, CA. The award-winning documentary film is the recipient of the following awards and prizes: Best Short Documentary, 2011 Ventura Film, Festival; two 2011 Silver Telly Awards for use of music and cinematography; The Reel Rose Award for Best Short Film (2011 John Paul II Film Festival; Miami, FL); The Redemptive Storytelling Award (2011 Redemptive Film Festival; Newport News, VA); and an Honorable Mention Award (2011 Los Angeles New Wave International Film Festival; Los Angeles, CA).
The Labyrinth has previously screened at seven US and three international film festivals including: The 2010 Boston Film Festival; The 2010 Polish Film Festival of America (Los Angeles, CA); The 2010 Plus Camerimage Film Festival (Poland); The 2011 Santa Barbara International Film Festival; The 2011 Boulder International Film Festival (Boulder, CO); The 2011 Peace on Earth Film Festival (Chicago, IL); The 2011 Beverly Hills Film Festival; The 2011 Docaviv International Documentary Film Festival (Tel Aviv, Israel); The 2011 Palm Springs Intl. ShortFest; and the 2011 Magnificat Film Festival (Minsk, Belarus).
“I built Auschwitz…because I arrived in the first transport.” Memory, art and hell collide as an Auschwitz survivor finally confronts the horrors of his past after 50 years of silence. Marian Kolodziej, prisoner number 432, was 17 and on one of the first transports to enter Auschwitz on June 14, 1940. Kolodziej, a Polish Catholic, survived five years imprisonment and never spoke of his experience until after a serious stroke in 1993. He began physical rehabilitation by doing pen and ink drawings depicting his memories of that horrific experience at Auschwitz 50 years earlier.
Kolodziej’s drawings and art installations, which he called The Labyrinth, fill the large basement of a church near Auschwitz. In The Labyrinth, Kolodziej takes the audience on a journey through his drawings and art installations. Through the blending of his testimony and graphic drawings, we explore the memories and nightmares that were buried for years. The documentary is eyewitness testimony to the horrors of Auschwitz that is unique in the annals of documenting the Holocaust. Marian Koldziej’s story of survival and persistence, of life before, during, and after Auschwitz is a testament to courage, the power of faith and the resilience of the human spirit.
Filmmaker Jason Schmidt notes: “Once I saw footage of Mr. Kolodziej’s artwork in a documentary I previously edited, I knew I needed to make a film about his artwork, his life and The Labyrinth. My goal was to immerse the audience in The Labyrinth and ultimately they would walk out of the theater as enriched in spirit, as I was, after ‘experiencing’ The Labyrinth. We shot for a total of 8 days in The Labyrinth on two separate trips. Marian kept adding new drawings every month. One major challenge in editing was selecting the drawings to use, since there are probably over 300 total drawings in the Labyrinth. All of them were compelling and there was a story behind each one.”
Schmidt continues: “During interviews, Mr. Kolodziej would tell us that his art should stand by itself with no explanation and then he would start to tell us about the drawings we were standing in front of. Another challenge was insuring that the lighting was correct to capture the dungeon-like feel of the basement. Mr. Kolodziej installed hanging light bulbs similar to ones found in the barracks in Auschwitz-Birkenau and we wanted to preserve that same kind of eerie lighting while at the same time getting proper light for the drawings. Although conditions were not ideal, we felt we captured the essence of The Labyrinth and the drawings.”
Marian Kolodziej, former Auschwitz Concentration Camp prisoner number 432, was born in Raszków, Poland on December 6, 1921. After the Nazi invasion of Poland in September 1939, he joined the ZWZ (Union of Armed Struggle). On May 14, 1940,
While preparing to illegally cross the Polish border he was arrested in Krakow and imprisoned. He was transferred to Auschwitz Concentration Camp in the first transport, on June 14, 1940. In the camp, he was assigned to various labor details. ...
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