Award-winning The Labyrinth: The Testimony of Marian Kolodziej screens at 2012 Whitehead Film Fest
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHICAGO, IL (January 11, 2012) - The Labyrinth: The Testimony of Marian Kolodziej, 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 on Monday, January 16th, 2012 at 2:00 PM at the 11th Annual Whitehead International Film Festival (Jan 12th-20th) at Claremont College, Claremont, CA. For information on tickets, screening times and venues, please visit: www.whiteheadfilmfestival.org. The Labyrinth filmmakers Fr. Ron Schmidt and Jason A. Schmidt will be present for the screening and the Q&A afterwards.
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 prizes: Grand Prix (2011 Magnificat Film Festival; Minsk, Belarus); Best Short Documentary (2011 Ventura Film Festival); two 2011 Silver Telly Awards (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: 2010 Boston Film Festival; 2010 Polish Film Festival of America (Los Angeles, CA); 2010 Plus Camerimage Film Festival (Poland); 2011 Redemptive Film Festival (Newport News, VA); 2011 Santa Barbara International Film Festival; 2011 Boulder International Film Festival (Boulder, CO); 2011 Peace on Earth Film Festival (Chicago, IL); 2011 Beverly Hills Film Festival (Beverly Hills, CA); 2011 Docaviv International Documentary Film Festival (Tel Aviv, Israel), 2011 John Paul II Film Festival (Miami, FL); 2011 Palm Springs Intl. ShortFest, 2011 Religion Today Film Festival (Trent, Italy); 2011 Magnificat Film Festival, (Minsk, Belarus); 2011 Gdansk Film Festival (Gdansk, Poland) 2011 Polish Film Festival (Buffalo, NY); 2012 Dhaka International Film Festival (Dhaka, Bangladesh); 2012 Whitehead International Film Festival (Claremont, CA); and will screen at the upcoming 2012 San Francisco Human Rights International Film Festival.
“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 ...
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