By Philippine News Agency
A documentary film by Noel Izon entitled: “An Open Door: Holocaust Haven in the Philippines,” will premier at the Cinematheque Tel Aviv on January 25, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday.
The film documents the inspiring story of how the Philippines, under the leadership of Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon, provided a sanctuary to about 1,300 fleeing European Jews, saving them from the Holocaust. Quezon worked with Jewish networks in Manila in the late 1930s until 1941, providing Jewish refugees with visa and a temporary home in the Far East.
“Through this excellent historical documentary, we hope to celebrate and generate greater awareness of the enduring friendship between Filipinos and Jews, which even antedates the independence of both countries,” said Philippine Ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial.
The Ambassador described Quezon’s open door policy for Jewish refugees as a significant aspect of Philippines-Israel relations.
The film showing will kick-off the commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Israel in 2017.
Izon, Prof. Sharon Delmendo, co-producer and humanities scholar of the film, and Prof. Bonnie Harris, Holocaust scholar and researcher for the film will lead the panel discussion following the film screening.
Two surviving “Manilaners” who lived in Manila as beneficiaries of Quezon’s policy – Mr. Max Weissler and Ms. Margot Pins Kestenbaum — will also join the panel.
The premier screening of Mr. Izon’s documentary film in Israel is a project of The Philippine Embassy in Israel, in partnership with the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Asia Pacific Institute, and with the support of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts.
“An Open Door” has been screened at Cinemalaya Philippines in August 2016, the Berlin International Filmmakers Festival in October 2016, and the International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema Milan in December 2016. It has received several award nominations in Berlin and in Milan.