PH, Hollywood, Japanese film project launched
MANILA, Philippines–A landmark film coproduction agreement was recently signed by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and international producers Global Motion Pictures Ltd. and Cinema Veritas.
The coproduction first saw promise when Briccio G. Santos, chair of the FDCP, discussed the idea at a meeting with Scott Rosenfelt, chief executive officer of US-based Cinema Veritas, at a recent conference in Hong Kong. The arrangement is the result of almost two and a half years of planning and consultation with the international film community and will result in the production of a historical film in which the Philippines plays a central role.
Acclaimed writer Angelo R. Lacuesta was recently hired to develop the story, which will tell of the “Manilaners,” Jewish refugees who fled the Nazi scourge during the onset of World War II and found refuge in the Philippines, then under the United States as a Commonwealth, under the leadership of then President Manuel L. Quezon.
The film will capture the tremendous trials endured by the Jewish refugees in the late 1930s, beginning with a dangerous and unpredictable odyssey from Europe, across the Soviet Union, to places such as Shanghai and Hong Kong and then to their final destination in Manila, where more challenges awaited them. While the Jews joined an already well-established Jewish community and enjoyed uncommon warmth from the Filipinos, they struggled to reestablish their lives and livelihood, even as they feared the war that threatened to reach Philippine shores.
The film is also seen to cover the challenges the nation faced toward becoming an independent nation during the Commonwealth period. While the historical context especially foregrounds Quezon’s—and the fledgling nation’s—sense of purpose and responsibility as a sovereign people, it also reflects current issues surrounding xenophobia and racism—and the small, untold heroisms that redeem us from these dark realities.
Santos said that he hopes that the film production would begin before the end of the year.