'Quezon’s Game' reaps praise at Tel Aviv film festival

Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 06 2019 12:07 PM

Raymond Bagatsing as President Manuel L. Quezon in 'Quezon's Game'

TEL AVIV -- The historical drama "Quezon’s Game" made its Israeli premiere at Tel Aviv’s Cinemateque as part of the Philippine Film Festival in Israel 2019. 

The film, which has already won 23 awards in various international film festivals and competitions, was well received by both Filipino and Israeli viewers. 

"Quezon’s Game," directed by Matthew Rosen, is based on true events as it explores the dilemmas faced by then president Manuel L. Quezon in his effort to open the Philippines to Jewish refugees fleeing Germany and Austria in 1938. 

“When the film finishes and the audience clap, that's a great feeling for any filmmaker,” said Rosen. 

“It’s a very moving film and it’s a great way to open the film festival in Israel. We want more people to know about this very important story, about the shared history between Filipinos and Jews,” said Ambassador Neal Imperial. 

“It's a kind of perspective that needs to be heard worldwide, about the realities of bias, discrimination and how a single person can go against the grain and make a difference,” added Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella, who delivered a message during the premiere. 

Israel is home to some 30,000 overseas Filipino workers, many of them working as caregivers. Those who watched the movie felt proud of what Quezon did for persecuted Jews, who found a home in the Philippines and survived the holocaust. 

“It’s very touching. We are proud to be Filipinos,” said Aurora Braza, an OFW in Israel. 

“It’s time for the film to be released to show the special friendship between Israel and Philippines,” said an Israeli viewer, Yosie Krohn. 

He added: “We love the Filipino people. They take care of our old people.”

The Philippine Film Festival is an annual event organized by the Philippine Embassy in Israel, in partnership with Cinematique in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa. 

The two other Filipino films are also featured at the event -- "Balangiga" and "Oro, Plata, Mata" -- which runs until November 24. 

The screening of "Quezon’s Game" was supported by Star Cinema and Kinetek.