New Film on Philippine Sanctuary for Jewish Refugees to Premier in Israel

New Film on Philippine Sanctuary for Jewish Refugees to Premier in Israel

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The Philippine Embassy in Israel, in partnership with the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Asia Pacific Institute and in collaboration with multi-awarded filmmaker Mr. Noel Izon, is proud to present the premier screening of Mr. Izon's documentary film "An Open Door: Holocaust Haven in the Philippines" at the Cinematheque Tel Aviv on 25 January 2017.


The film documents the inspiring story of how the Philippines, under the leadership of Philippine President Manuel Quezon, provided 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.


The film showing will be the kick-off event for the commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Israel in 2017.


Philippine Ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial described Quezon's open door policy for Jewish refugees as a significant aspect of Philippines-Israel relations. "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," Imperial said.


"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.


A panel discussion on the film led by Mr. Izon, Prof. Sharon Delmendo, co-producer and humanities scholar of the film, and Prof. Bonnie Harris, Holocaust scholar and researcher for the film, will be held after the 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.


Mr. Izon began work on the film in 2011, with the final version to be shown at the premiere on January 25th at the Cinematheque Theater in Tel Aviv. It features interviews with Holocaust survivors who escaped to the Philippines.


The Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) also provided support to the event. END

2 Manuel Luis Quezon