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Award-Winning The Labyrinth Documentary Screens at USF's 2012 Human Rights Film Festival on March 30

Award-winning Documentary on Polish Catholic Auschwitz Survivor named 2012 Notable Video by American Library Association also receives 2012 SIGNIS Intl. Award for Best Doc. and Best Doc. Award - Spiritual Section - 2012 Dhaka Intl. Film Festival

 
PRLog - Mar. 15, 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, will screen at the University of San Francisco’s 10th annual Human Rights Film Festival at 1:00 PM on Friday, March 30, announced Fr. Ron Schmidt, the producer of the short from December 2nd Productions which was recently named 2012 Notable Video by the American Library Association, received the 2012 SIGNIS International Award for Best Documentary and named Best Documentary-Spiritual Section, 2012 Dhaka International Film Festival, Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Labyrinth screens at USF’s Presentation Theater, University of San Francisco’s School of Education, 2350 Turk Blvd. San Francisco, CA.  The Labyrinth screening is free and open to the public.  For further information, visit:  http://www.usfca.edu/artsci/hrff/. The Labyrinth 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); 2012 SIGNIS International Award for Best Documentary and Best Documentary, Spiritual Section, 2012 Dhaka International Film Festival (Dhaka, Bangladesh); 2012 Notable Video – American Library Association.  

“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.
   
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. After falling ill, he was transferred to a sub-camp outside of Auschwitz, where he made clandestine copies of blueprints of the armaments factory for the resistance movement. He was sentenced to death for this, sent back to Auschwitz and confined to a basement cell in Block No.11 and miraculously escaped death. He survived there until the end of 1944, when he was transferred to Gross-Rosen as part of the Nazi evacuation of the camps,
also known as the “death march.” He was subsequently moved to Buchenwald, Germany then to Mauthausen, Austria, where he was liberated on May 6, 1945.
   
Returning to Poland, Kolodziej enrolled at the Fine Arts Academy in Krakow and graduated with a degree in stage design. As his artistic career developed, he went to work at the "Coast" theatre in Gdansk as a stage designer. He also designed sets and costumes for other theatres and films in Poland and abroad. He never returned to his
camp experiences in either his stage designs or his art. After nearly fifty years of silence,
Kolodziej suffered a debilitating stroke in 1993. During his rehabilitation, he asked to be given a pencil and he began to draw images of his memories of his time in the camps. He died October 13, 2009.

The Labyrinth is written, directed, edited and produced by award-winning documentary filmmaker Jason A. Schmidt who co-directed and co-produced Franz Jägerstätter: A Man of Conscience, a short documentary that won the Redemptive Storytelling Award.  Schmidt also co-directed and edited the award-winning feature documentary, On the Line, a feature length documentary on the protest against the U.S. School of the Americas in Fort Benning, GA which features Martin Sheen and Susan Sarandon.  He was film editor and music editor on the award-winning feature documentary In Spite of Darkness: A Spiritual Encounter with Auschwitz. He is the recipient of three Silver Telly Awards.  Schmidt founded December 2nd Productions in 2004 to develop and produce documentaries in collaboration with his father and producer, Ron Schmidt, SJ.  

The Labyrinth Producer Ron Schmidt, SJ is a Jesuit priest and award-winning international documentary filmmaker whose films include: Franz Jägerstätter: A Man of Conscience, a short documentary that won the Redemptive Storytelling Award; On The Line, a feature length documentary on the protest against the U.S. School of the Americas in Fort Benning, GA; In Spite of Darkness, on the annual Auschwitz non-denominational retreat and numerous other short documentary films. Two of his films were awarded Silver Telly’s for best in their categories and all three films have secured international distribution. He also produced a project on the American Zen Buddhist Bernie Glassman, Instructions to the Cook: A Zen Master's Recipe for Living a Life that Matters. Schmidt, along with his director son, Jason, is partnered in December 2 Productions to develop and produce documentaries.

The Labyrinth creative team also includes 2-time Academy Award-winning film editor Arthur Schmidt (Forrest Gump and Who Framed Roger Rabbit) as Executive Producer and Gregory J. Schmidt, SOC as Director of Photography.  The Schmidts come from a long line of Hollywood filmmakers - their father / grandfather was the distinguished, Oscar-nominated  film editor, Arthur P. Schmidt, best known for editing such classic films as Sunset Boulevard, Some Like It Hot, Sabrina and Sayonara, among many others.

ABOUT DECEMBER 2nd PRODUCTIONS
December 2nd Productions was founded by Jason A. Schmidt in October 2004 to produce his first award-winning documentary On the Line. Since its founding, December 2nd has produced a variety of film and video projects, including 6 public service announcements with Martin Sheen, several music videos, and the award-winning short documentary Franz Jägerstätter: A Man of Conscience. December 2nd is in production on the feature documentary “432" http://www.432film.com. The company is currently in the process of developing several short and feature length narrative films. With an extensive background in film and music, December 2nd Productions and its crew are involved from development to distribution.

For more information on The Labyrinth, visit: www.thelabyrinthdocumentary.com

For more information on the University of San Francisco’s 2012 Human Rights Film Festival, visit: http://www.usfca.edu/artsci/hrff/.

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