|Critically Acclaimed Winner of 25 Awards at International Film Festivals,
Quezon’s Game in U.S./Canadian Theaters Jan. 24th
Largely Forgotten, True Story of Holocaust Heroism Saved 1,200+ Jewish Refugees;
Film’s Release Marks 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz (Jan. 27)
Original Soundtrack Features Shulem With Manila’s ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra; and Songs Composed by Concentration Camp Prisoners,
Performed by the In Memoriam Orchestra
“… the scope and enormity of Schindler’s List ... Quezon’s Game delivers the same powerful message
against racism, bigotry and discrimination … a very compelling and deeply moving film …”
— Esquire Philippines
“The story of Quezon’s Game is nothing short of magnificent.”
— Business Mirror
“Gripping performances …”
Clockwise from Top left: Pres. Quezon, played by Raymond
Bagatsing; Quezon's wife Aurora, played by Rachel Alejandro, Pres.
Quezon addresses the Filipino people; Quezon welcomes Jew
refugees in 1940; Barmitzbah in the Philippines; Passover Seder in
PHILIPPINES/LOS ANGELES/SAN FRANCISCO — Dec. 9, 2019 — For Immediate Release — Critically acclaimed during its multi-award-
winning festival run and successful May 2019 theatrical release in the Philippines, Quezon’s Game will begin its U.S./Canadian theatrical
rollout Jan. 24.
A true story of Holocaust heroism during World War II in the Philippines by Filipino President Manuel L. Quezon—who rescued as many
persecuted Jews as Oskar Schindler at a time when most countries were turning their backs—the release of Quezon’s Game also
marks the landmark 75th anniversary on Jan. 27 of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Nazi’s most-notorious concentration camp. Once
forgotten to history, the incredible tale of what just one man can accomplish when defeat isn’t an option … a miraculous feat of human
A Star Cinema/ABS-CBN Film Productions production in association with iWant and Kinetek, Quezon’s Game is the feature film
directorial debut of Matthew Rosen (also serving as cinematographer) who has directed television, music videos and more than 700
commercials over 25 years, winning more than 50 international awards. Rosen—a British national residing in the Philippines since
1986—and his Filipino wife, Lorena “Lori” Rosen, who co-produced the film, heard the little-known story of the film from members of the
Jewish Association of the Philippines in 2009 and instantly realized they needed to retell this extraordinary and moving story on the big
Comments the director, “I am a Jew who grew up in England and have experienced bigotry, but after 37 years in the Philippines, to this
day, I have never come across prejudice, dislike or distrust because I am White or Jewish. I’m pinoy at heart and this was truly a passion
project for me. The story behind Quezon’s Game remains a reflection of the Filipino people today, a warm and welcoming culture.
“In a time of war, when the rest of the world was in despair and apathetic,” Rosen continues, “the Filipino people—who were suffering
their own hardships—shed a light on justice and morality to lead others. Quezon fought a lonely battle for what was right up until his
untimely death. The message of this amazing story, which was largely forgotten, is more important than ever to in today’s growing climate
of intolerance—and my wife, Lori, and I wanted to tell it. It’s my ‘thank you’ to the Philippines.”
In Quezon’s Game …
As WWII loomed and the 1930s drew to a close, desperate Jewish refugees seeking to flee German/Austrian ghettos and the escalating
atrocities of the Nazi regime found little help from countries around the world.
More than 10,000 miles away, over weekend poker games at the Malacanañg Palace, prominent Jewish businessman, two-for-a-nickel
cigar maker Alex Frieder (Billy Ray Gallion), implored his friend “Manny,” Filipino President Manuel L. Quezon (Raymond Bagatsing), to
assist him in establishing asylum for refugees in the tropical, island country. Also helping devise the dramatic rescue plan was American
diplomat Paul V. McNutt (James Paolelli), who labored to overcome oppressive U.S. objections to the plan, imperiling his own political
career and presidential aspirations.
Willing to risk it all, it was a moral obligation the Filipino leader was determined to fulfill … despite astronomical obstacles, the
Philippines struggling, U.S.-reliant economy and his own gravely failing health due to a relapse of tuberculosis.
Instrumental as well was an ambitious, young U.S. Army Colonel, future president Dwight D. Eisenhower (David Bianco), then chief aide
to General Douglas MacArthur, serving in the Philippines, a U.S. territory at a time when Filipinos (even diplomats and officials), like
African-Americans, were required to use “Colored” bathrooms at the White House.
Although Quezon’s intent to rescue 10,000 Jews was abruptly curtailed by the Dec. 8, 1941 invasion and three-year occupation of his
country by the Japanese, he, his wife, Aurora (Rachel Alejandro), and daughter, Baby (Kate Alejandrino), succeeded against all odds to
welcome more than 1,200 refugees, initially housing them on his own family’s property, Marikina estate. Yet in his final days in 1944, as
president in U.S. exile, he regretfully turned to Aurora and asked, “Could I have done more?”
MPPA Rating Pending / 126 Minutes / Historical Drama / English + Tagalog (with English Subtitles)
Watch the trailer: https://vimeo.com/377850707
Photos from the film, historical photos, clips + other media assets available at: https://bit.ly/35GelJ2
More About the Film …
As the credits of Quezon’s Game run, filmmakers share brief interviews with now-elderly survivors—referred to as called pala Manilaner
(coming from Manila)—who emigrated to the Philippines as children, Max Heintz Weissler, Lotte Cassel Hershfield, Margot Pins
Kestenbaum, and Margot’s son, Danny Pins, recalling the events that reshaped their lives. A four-part documentary special about them,
The Last Manilaners, will be offered on ABS-CBN’s online platform TFC.tv.
Original Soundtrack …
Performing the film's emotional theme song, “Quezon's Theme” (words and music by James George Hargreaves, orchestration by Chris
Cameron), is the first Hasidic singer signed to a major label and a rising star of the Jewish music tradition, Universal Music's Shulem
Lemmer (aka Shulem). Additionally, iconic Filipino singer and Quezon’s Game star Rachel Alejandro, who portrays Aurora Quezon in the
film, recorded a version. Each vocal performance was backed by Manila’s ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra and both renditions will be
featured in the film.
Also featured in the film are the concentrationary songs, “Why Does the White Man Sit in the Front of the Bus?” by Karel Švenk, and
“Wino,” a tango by Z. Stryjecki, performed by Madrid’s In Memoriam Orchestra (produced by James George Hargreaves and Chris
Both music composers were imprisoned in WWII Nazi concentration camps, Švenk at Terezín (Theresienstadt), with use of Švenk’s
music granted by the Terezín Music Foundation (TMF), a non-profit dedicated to amplifying the musical legacy of the artists imprisoned at
the camp, where a group of prisoners composed and performed music that nourished spirits amidst the great suffering around them.
Švenk's compositions were smuggled out of Terezín by George Horner, a member of Švenk's band, who gave the tattered manuscripts to
TMF for preservation. Švenk was eventually sent to Auschwitz and later died on a subsequent transport to Mauthausen-Gusen. Little is
known about the writer of the tango, who also perished in the Holocaust. His or her manuscripts—now housed in a Polish museum—
were found with just a first name initial and last name.
Lasting Legacy …
As a result of the moral courage displayed by the leader of the Philippines and his people, regardless of the consequences, Israel long
ago instituted an open-door policy with the country, which permits visa-free visitation by Filipino tourists to this day—and, in 2009, erected
an “Open Door” monument in Tel Aviv in commemoration of this act of humanity. Today, the Jewish diaspora in the Philippines remains a
vibrant and welcoming community, with the descendants of refugees rescued by Quezon numbering around 8,000, according to a 2017
estimate by the Israeli Embassy.
Quezon’s Game was directed by Matthew Rosen and written by Janice Y. Perez and Dean Rosen from an original story by Matthew Rosen
and Lorena H. Rosen. Supervising Producer was Marizel S. Martinez and Creative Producers were Enrico C. Santos and John Paul E.
Abellera. Executive Producers were Carlo L. Katigbak, Olivia M. Lamasan, Linggit Tan-Marasigan and Lorena H. Rosen. Director of
Photography was Mathew Rosen. Original music by Dean Rosen.
Quezon’s Game won “Awards of Excellence” for Lead Actor, Direction, Asian Film, Cinematography and Original Score at the 2019
IndieFEST Film Awards; “Gold Remi Awards” for Best Foreign Feature, Best Director, Best Producer and Best Art Direction at the 2019
WorldFest-Houston International Film + Video Festival; and “Best in Show Grand Champion” at the 2019 Cinema World Fest Annual
Gala. The film also took home “Awards of Excellence” for Acting Male Lead, Acting Female Lead, Supporting Actor, Original Score,
Lighting, Produced Screenplay, Sound Design, Costume Design and Set Design; “Awards of Merit” for Drama Feature, Color Treatment;
and an “Award of Recognition” for Direction at the 2018 Cinema World Fest Awards. Additionally, it received an “Excellence Special
Mention” at the 2019 Accolade Global Film Competition; was a finalist at Israel’s 2019 Near Nazareth Festival; and was an “Official
Selection” at the 2019 Maryland International Film Festival and the U.K.’s 2019 Ramsgate International Film + TV Festival.
ABS-CBN Film Productions: Based in Manila, Philippines, ABS-CBN Film Productions, Inc., was founded in 1993 and is the pre-eminent
Filipino film production company. It has produced more than 200 films across a variety of genres, with more than half of them exceeding
$100 million at the box office and securing the top-10 spots of highest-grossing Filipino movies of all time.
--Vicki Greenleaf — 323.660.5800
Greenleaf + Associates PR and Marketing