“I lived to see this day,” said Lidia Budgor, 91, when she first watched “When Man to Man is a Wolf,” an animated documentary based on her personal narrative as a Holocaust survivor.
The film, which was created by a group of College of the Canyons animation students, was produced as a collaboration with the Righteous Conversations Project in association with the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust — and will now be the main focus of the COC Student Gallery’s inaugural exhibit, which opens Friday, Sept. 30, in the Valencia campus library.
The exhibition will consist of an animated film featuring an interview with Budgor, as well as original drawings produced for the film.
“The life of Lidia Budgor is a testament to the triumph of human spirit,” said Masha Vasilkovsky, a COC animation instructor in charge of the project. “A person of courage, Lidia’s inner strength and beauty has had the most profound impact on all of our souls. I speak on behalf or the entire class.”
The sole survivor of a family of nine, Budgor narrates the film’s scenes, which were animated by the class in direct charcoal on mylar technique.
The film focuses on the years between the outbreak of war in Poland in 1939, including her life in the Lodz ghetto, deportation to Auschwitz, a death march to the Baltic Sea, and eventual liberation by Russian soldiers in 1945.
At the onset of the production, Budgor was interviewed by Vasilkovsky’s animation class, which used her 80-minute interview to create the animated short.
The film’s title comes from the Latin proverb “homo hominy lupus est,” which translates as “man is wolf to man” in reference to situations where people are known to have behaved in predatory, cruel and inhuman ways.
“Art has the potential to encapsulate the intangible experience of human soul,” said Ruah Edelstein, a guest filmmaker invited for the student production. “As artists, we intend to use this phenomena to bring awareness about kindness and justice to the future of human history.”
Founded by Samara Hutman, The Righteous Conversations Project is a nonprofit organization that is committed to Holocaust memory and provides students with opportunities to speak out against injustice by using film and media.
“We are very excited to showcase the work of COC students with this inaugural exhibit at the new student gallery in the library,” said Larry Hurst, COC Art Gallery director. “This powerful and moving film will help ensure that Budgor’s story will not be forgotten.”
The film’s original score was composed by Gary Bonner, a composer dedicated to the Jewish theme.
“When Man to Man is a Wolf” will run through Thursday, Nov. 17.
Located on the second floor of the college library, the student gallery will showcase the artwork of COC students.
The College of the Canyons Student Gallery is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fridays.
All gallery exhibitions and related events are free and open to the public.
An artist’s reception will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30. To RSVP please call (661) 362-3612.