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The Labyrinth: The Testimony of Marian Kolodziej receives SIGNIS Intl. Award for Best Documentary

2/10/2012 - 12:40 PM PST

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Award-winning The Labyrinth: The Testimony of Marian Kolodziej receives SIGNIS International Award for Best Documentary and Best Documentary Award - Spiritual Section at 2012 Dhaka International Film Festival

Award-winning documentary on Polish Catholic Auschwitz survivor Marian Kolodziej named 2012 Notable Video by American Library Association

(Hollywood, CA (February 10, 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, has received the SIGNIS International Award for Best Documentary and was named Best Documentary - Spiritual Section at the 2012 Dhaka International Film Festival in Dhaka, Bangladesh, announced December 2n Productions, the producer of the short which has also been named 2012 Notable Video by the American Library Association. The documentary short received its world premiere at the International Documentary Association’s 14th Annual DocuWeeks™ Shorts 2010 Theatrical Documentary Showcase, Hollywood and has screened at 20 US and international film festivals to date.

The Labyrinth is the recipient of the following awards, prizes and honors: 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); Honorable Mention Award (2011 Los Angeles New Wave International Film Festival; Los Angeles, CA); SIGNIS International Award for Best Documentary and Best Documentary, Spiritual Section, 2012 Dhaka International Film Festival (Dhaka, Bangladesh).

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 Whitehead International Film Festival (Claremont, CA); 2012 Dhaka International Film Festival (Dhaka, Bangladesh) 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 ...

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