About this project
WE REACHED OUR GOAL!
We are so honored and humbled by everyone's support. We could not have predicted how generously everyone would respond. The mission of this project from the very beginning - over 40 years ago - has been simple: documenting a life story that is powerful and important. William Kurelek's story continues to inspire us, as we find new paintings, interview his colleagues and friends, and connect with individuals dramatically affected by "The Maze" and other Kurelek works. Your support is going to allow us to continue on our mission and complete both of our films on Kurelek, doing our best to honor his genius.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
OUR NEW GOAL
In the next 3 days, we'd like to reach a new goal of $55K. If you haven't yet, you have a limited time to reserve your copy of the film, the director's edition, or limited Kurelek print. We appreciate the support!
About us and our project
Hi, we're filmmakers Nick Young and Zack Young, and we're trying to raise money to finish and release William Kurelek's The Maze, a film our father started over 40 years ago. Our necessary steps for completing the project are detailed below (see Need for Funding), but one of them is producing the bonus film Out of the Maze, which will be included on the DVD and Blu-ray.
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"The Maze is a painting of the inside of my skull, which I painted when I was in England as a patient in Maudsley and Netherne psychiatric hospitals. It is a story of my life, well in the sense that people tell stories by the fireplace to entertain their guests, trying to make them accept you. In this case I wanted to be accepted, as an interesting specimen." - William Kurelek, 1969.
Check out a trailer for the main film, William Kurelek's The Maze:
William Kurelek has become one of Canada's most celebrated artists. His work is on permanent display in major galleries and museums around the world. When he was hospitalized in London, he was diagnosed as schizophrenic, but he believed he was suffering a spiritual crisis.
Our father, award-winning filmmaker Robert M. Young (Nothing But a Man, Alambrista!, Dominick and Eugene), began this film because he believed that Kurelek's revelations in both his art and in his person were of great importance. Our goal is to complete the final stages of this film, which includes finishing a new bonus film.
This project is an opportunity to provide you with not only the film itself, but some rare and truly unique rewards, not the least of which are LIMITED EDITION PRINTS direct to your door by the holidays.
LIMITED EDITION ARCHIVAL PRINT
4 LITHOGRAPHIC PRINTS FROM KURELEK'S ESTATE
In 1969, our dad was approached by Professor James Maas of Cornell University to make a film about psychotic art, in order to depict the relationship between art and psychology. One of the paintings in Maas' collection was William Kurelek's 1953 work The Maze; Young and Maas together decided that the best film they could make would be about the man who painted this masterpiece.
Partnered with filmmaker David Grubin, our dad travelled to London to document the hospital where Kurelek had been a patient, and to interview his doctor, therapist, and nurse. Eventually, our dad and Grubin made it to Canada, where they interviewed the Kurelek family, his priest, and the artist himself, whose on-camera revelations "feel like a gift" (Erin O'Neal, exclaim.ca)
William Kurelek trusted the two filmmakers enough to be candid about his story, even about his attempted suicide and self-professed "spiritual crisis." He allowed them into his home and his world, and even painted the experience in his work I am Proud of My Humility (shown above in "Rewards" - archival print available).
The film went on to win several awards, but only as a half-hour educational piece for psychology classrooms. The footage for a longer, more complete version of the film was lost for over 40 years.
Re-imagining William Kurelek's The Maze
7 years ago, the lost footage was discovered in an unmarked canister hidden away in a film vault. Together with our dad, we restored the footage and edited it back into the original film. He also asked that we provide the film with a score, since we are also musicians. We researched and studied Ukrainian folk music that Kurelek was known to listen to while painting. This inspired us to produce a score using acoustic guitars and electronic instruments, as well as the song "Someone with Me" which runs over the end credits.
SOMEONE WITH ME, original song from Nick Young & Zack Young, included on soundtrack
We decided to try and finish the film in time to accompany a traveling exhibition of Kurelek's work: William Kurelek: The Messenger, which stopped at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. But the 16mm images had deteriorated and we realized that if we were going to screen this film before fans of the renowned artist, we had to rephotograph his paintings in order to do them justice. This meant traveling across Canada, and in the process we met and learned from so many fascinating figures from Kurelek's life (more on this later - see Out of the Maze).
But the journey of making this film didn't stop there. As we began to edit the now high-definition images of his work into the film, we became immersed in Kurelek's world. In fact we became so engaged by the energy of his characters, that we knew we had to honor their inner life through animation.
The result was a new, 65-minute version of the film, titled William Kurelek's The Maze, which we have been fortunate enough to screen in Canada alongside exhibitions of Kurelek's work and as part of several film festivals that explore and raise awareness about mental illness. We were so humbled this month to have our film presented by Their Excellencies the Governor General of Canada David Johnston and his wife Sharon Johnston as part of "The Happening," an event to confront and promote deeper understanding of issues surrounding mental illness.
However, the film is not quite finished, and there are some necessary steps that we need to take in order to finish and release it properly:
Need for Funding
So far we've managed to finance the film ourselves, but we realize that to take the next steps, we're going to need some additional funding. These steps include:
- finishing the animations for the film
- translating the film into French, Ukrainian, Spanish, and other languages
- mastering a proper surround sound mix and color correct
- releasing the film in all necessary formats (more limited theater runs, DVD, Blu-Ray, and online)
- finishing production of the complimentary bonus film Out of the Maze (see next section)
Out of the Maze
Through working on the film, we've gotten to know many of the fascinating individuals from Kurelek's life. We realized that they had so much to say, so we began making an additional film called Out of the Maze. We interviewed many of his family members, his art dealer Avrom Isaacs, and several art assistants and colleagues. But our discoveries only continue as we meet art therapists, professors, and psychologists who deepen our insights and who we would love to interview.
The title Out of the Maze comes from a painting Kurelek made as a gift to the Maudsley Hospital in London. He considered it to be a sequel to The Maze - an update of his story which he wanted to present to the hospital that housed him through the "Maze" period. At the center of the image is a depiction of Kurelek and his family, enjoying a picnic on the prairie.
It is ostensibly a scene of serenity and happiness. However, two clues signal both a past and present of darkness. In the bottom left-hand corner is the bisected skull from The Maze, and in the top right, a storm is looming on the horizon. Just like the painting, our bonus film Out of the Maze will provide an updated picture of the artist. For us, it makes the main film even larger because it paints a picture that spans the time over 40 years since the original film was first released.
ROBERT M. YOUNG, (see imdb page) one of our foremost independent filmmakers, has an award-winning body of work that includes classic documentaries and acclaimed feature films. His features include Nothing But A Man, distinguished by being Malcom X's favorite film, as well asAlambrista!, Short Eyes, Rich Kids, One Trick Pony, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, Extremities, Dominick and Eugene, Triumph of the Spirit,and Caught. His documentaries include Secrets of the Reef named by Time Magazine as "one of the best films of the year," as well as Fight for Life, In the World of Sharks, Man of the Serengeti, Bushmen of the Kalahari,and The Great Apes.
As a writer/director/cameraman and associate producer for the acclaimed NBC White Paperseries, he made Sit-In, Angola: Journey to a War, and The Inferno. This last film portrayed slum life in Palermo, Sicily so powerfully that NBC declined to air it. In 1993, Young's son Andrew and his daughter-in-law Susan Todd incorporated the NBC film into their film Children of Fate: Life and Death in a Sicilian Familyfor which they received an Academy Award Nomination.Father and son together received the Best Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
Mr. Young’s other numerous awards include: Cannes’ Camera d’Or, San Sebastian’s Golden Concha for Best Film, Cuba’s Golden Coral for Best Film, Venice’s Primo San Georgio and The City of Venice Prize, an Emmy, three Peabody Awards, two George Polk Memorial Awards for Journalism, and the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Mr. Young has also been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
DAVID GRUBIN (see imdb page) is a director, writer, producer, and cinematographer who has produced over 100 films, ranging from history to art, from poetry to science, winning every award in the field of documentary television, including two Alfred I. Dupont awards, three George Foster Peabody prizes, five Writer's Guild prizes, and ten Emmys.
His biographies for the PBS series American Experience - Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided; LBJ; Truman;TR: The Story of Theodore Roosevelt; and FDR - have set the standard for television biography. His five-part series for PBS - Healing And The Mind with Bill Moyers - has won many awards, and the companion book, for which he was executive editor, rose to number one on The New York Times Best Sellers list, remaining on the list for 32 weeks. His recent award-winning independent feature film Downtown Express has been screened at festivals in America and abroad.
A member of the executive committee of the Society of American Historians, Grubin has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, has been a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College, and is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Hamilton College. A former chairman of the board of directors of The Film Forum, he is a member of the Writers Guild and Directors Guild and has been teaching documentary film producing at Columbia University's Graduate Film Program.
Currently, he is working on a film about languages in danger of extinction, Language Matters with Bob Holman.
Brothers NICK YOUNG and ZACK YOUNG produced, animated & scored William Kurelek's The Maze. Both are visual effects artists, filmmakers & musicians based in West Los Angeles, California. They comprise the film/visual-effects company MachinEyes. Their artistic background is heavily based in their musical roots, having performed in venues all over the world. They released their first full-length album in 2002 produced by Chris Vrenna (Nine Inch Nails, Marylin Manson) on Dreamworks Records under the band A.i. Out of a desire to expand their artistic palette, they eventually ventured into film & visual effects which has been a natural progression for them under the mentorship of their father, Robert M. Young, an award-winning filmmaker.
In the past couple of years, Nick & Zack have also focused their time on visual effects doing 3D animation work for companies such as Nike, Kenneth Cole, & Red Bull as well as collaborating on music videos & several independent feature films that have had theatrical releases. Their passion lies in telling stories in new and exciting ways through the use of some of todays latest animation technology.
Risks and challenges
The most prominent challenge we've faced through this process is a simple one: time. Not only was there a 40-year delay because of lost footage, but even once the lost footage was found, it took us several years before the film could be screened before an audience. And even then it was not complete, which is why we are here now.
However, in our case, all of the time that has been devoted to this project has been a blessing. Because of the 40-year delay, the film now belongs to a new generation, and holds a rare, primary-source account of one of our great North American artists. And because we haven't had a lump sum of funding or a deadline at any point so far, we have been able to take the time that the project needs, and slowly make the discoveries that would allow this film to honor William Kurelek as much as possible.
However, we are now at the point where we know exactly what we need to do to get this project finished, and we are excited to meet the demand of an army of Kurelek fans who have been waiting to hear his story. Now that we have defined the dollar amount that it will take to complete "William Kurelek's The Maze" and the bonus film "Out of the Maze," and now that we have set a date for when we aim to have it all finished and available to the public (July 2014, though we will aim for sooner!), we are on a focused, purposeful path to make it all happen.
Thank you all, and we look forward to exploring The Maze with you!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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