A film about the Holocaust – produced by a Jesuit priest – finds itself on a possible path to the Academy Awards.
The 37-minute documentary is called “The Labyrinth,” and tells the story of Marian Kolodziej, a Polish Catholic resistance fighter during World War II who survived more than five years in Auschwitz. Three years ago, Kolodziej’s work was discovered by Jesuit Father Ron Schmidt, who came to Auschwitz to produce a documentary on an annual interfaith conference held there.
Friends in the film industry who saw an early cut of the project told Fr. Schmidt he had a possible Oscar nominee on his hands. But, to qualify for nomination, films need to be shown in New York and Los Angeles theatres for at least five days – a tall, expensive order for documentary shorts produced on little more than hope and a prayer.
But sometimes that is enough – each year, the International Documentary Association sponsors the DocuWeeks showcase, just to make sure that worthy documentary features and shorts get the exposure they need for a shot at Oscar. Competition is fierce – only five short films are selected from entries submitted worldwide.
“The Labyrinth” will be one of them. It premieres on Friday, August 13th in New York and Los Angeles, and buzz has already begun to build. An Oscar nomination remains a mysterious, distant goal – but this powerful short film has already achieved more than its makers hoped and prayed for.
You can learn more about Schmidt’s documentary at National Catholic Reporter and by watching the trailer for the film below.