“An Open Door: Holocaust Haven in the Philippines”, a documentary by multi-awarded Filipino-American producer/director Mr. Noel “Sonny” Izon made its European premiere at the Mercure Hotel MOA Berlin on Thursday, 27 October 2016 as part of the International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema BERLIN.
“An Open Door” is a documentary of the Philippine rescue of over 1,300 European Jews fleeing the Holocaust before 1941. The event was attended by an international audience who enthusiastically took part during the Q&A with Mr. Izon. Dr. Bonnie M. Harris, Lecturer from the Department of History of the San Diego State University, Grossmont College and Southwestern College, USA, who was instrumental in the filming of the documentary, as well as other surviving members of the Jewish families who found safe harbor in the Philippines were also present.
Consul Rona Beth Goce of the Philippine Embassy said a few words before the screening of the film, providing the audience with the historical context of the documentary.
When asked regarding the inspiration and connection behind the documentary and the filmmaker, Mr. Izon said, “Of the 1305 Jews who were able to make it to Manila, two of them are very important to me and to who I am today. The first was an Austrian physician named Otto Zelezny. He came to the Philippines in 1938 and eventually became friends with my father. When my father became deathly ill in 1945, he saved my father’s life. So I would not be talking with you today if it were not for the skill of this doctor.”
The film was produced in association with Hollywood actor Joe Mantegna´s Acquaviva Productions and was filmed on location in the USA, Israel, Europe and the Philippines. Director Izon noted that the music used in the film was provided by a 70-piece orchestra playing an original score by composer Charles Barnett. In certain scenes, music is played on violins from the Holocaust era by the children of Holocaust survivors.
“An Open Door” has received three nominations at the Festival. Mr. Izon won the Filmmaker Award for Scientific and Educational Film. END