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Szyk Films


The following films were a collaboration and produced by  Irvin Ungar with film editor Jim Ruxin. They met at an antiquarian Book Fair in Los Angeles, where Ungar introduced Ruxin to Szyk’s art. There they shared the discovery that Szyk’s intricate work, usually never larger than a page, could be brought to wider audiences when enlarged and given the gift of movement and music.

Their first collaborative effort was a visit to Mercer Island High School in Seattle, Washington in 2005. In the short film, “Arthur Szyk: Soldier in Art,” teachers and students interact with the art and respond to its messages. This film was well received by educators and the public, screening at eight international film festivals in the US, Warsaw, Jerusalem, and Mexico City.

When Ungar began work on an entirely new edition of the The Szyk Haggadah in 2006, another film began to take shape. Over the next two years the producers documented the re-creation of this technically and creatively challenging project. This film, “In Every Generation: Remaking The Szyk Haggadah,” accompanies each Deluxe and Premier limited edition of the Historicana publication.

In 2012, Hollywood composer Richard Friedman was inspired by Szyk’s work and created an original score that musically interpreted the issues about which Szyk was most passionate. Together, the music and 64 images dramatically capture the essence of Arthur Szyk as an activist artist. It is a wordless exploration of the ideals of American democracy, the horrors of the Nazi era the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the hope-filled rebirth of the Jewish people in the land of Israel.

Over the years a few other short films were produced.

Soldier in Art: Arthur Szyk

America’s Weapon against Nazi Germany. Sixty-four paintings are set to an original score by composer Richard Friedman. His four-part suite interprets Arthur Szyk’s visual commentary on American democracy, the horrors of Nazism and the Holocaust, and the rebirth of the Jewish people in the land of Israel. Together, the images and the music express the essence of Szyk’s activism, dramatically capturing why Szyk called himself “FDR’s solider in art.” Produced in 2013. Length 9:45. Click on the image below to see the film.

Soldier in Art DVD Cover

Soldier in Art DVD Back Cover

In Every Generation: Remaking The Szyk Haggadah

This film follows the artisan publication of the new edition of The Szyk Haggadah where the viewer can experience the production process, learn about the craftsmen and scholars behind its creation, and see the expertise and care in every aspect of this masterpiece. Watch part 1 below and click the link to see the entire film. Produced in 2008. Length 17:00

Arthur Szyk: Soldier in Art

A Polish Jew stirs America to action against the Nazis with his passionate art and savage wit. This film documents the introduction of the artist Arthur Szyk to a group of students and teachers at Mercer Island High School in Seattle, Washington. Irvin Ungar, encourages the students to share their reaction to world that is as vivid, profound, and worthy of discussion today as it was over 60 years ago. Produced in 2006. Length 14:44.

Friends of Arthur Szyk: Celebrating a Soldier in Art

A tribute paid to Arthur Szyk by those most familiar with his work. Brief interviews are shown with Steven Heller, Dr. Johannes Zechner, Katja Widmann, Art Spiegelman, Daniel Rose, Dr. Byron Sherwin, Dr. John Pawlikowski, and Tom L. Freudenheim. Produced in 2017. Length 8:11.

Father John Pawlikowski Reflects: Nostra Aetate and Arthur Szyk

Father John Pawlikowski discusses the dynamic interface between the Catholic Church, Arthur Szyk, and the Holocaust. Focusing on the concepts of individual agency and the application of spirituality in taking responsibility for human history, Pawlikowski places Szyk at the center of the discourse of confronting ideologies. Produced in 2015. Length 5:39.