An Open Door

Jewish Rescue in the Philippines

Copyright 2011 Noel M. Izon

bio: noel maria izon

Work History


Since the beginning of his professional filmmaking career, Noel M. Izon has consistently pursued the production of film and video materials which address the needs of underserved and minority audiences. Beginning with "Gettin' Over", a 52-part television series aimed at teaching minority teenagers lifelong practical skills in 1973, Mr. Izon has never wavered in his focus at reaching minority audiences. In 1976, he produced “Black Presence During the American Revolution” an audiovisual presentation for the Smithsonian Institution documenting the participation of black patriots in support of American independence. Also in 1976, he worked as a creative director to the Institute for Services to Education (ISE) a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting Historically Black Colleges. He designed and taught a course for ISE in the uses of media in education.  In 1977, he produced, "Pacific Bridges", the first ever Asian American series on Public television aimed at junior high students. In 1978 he followed up with "Pearls" a multi-award winning 6-part series on the lives and history of Asian Americans. “Pearls” is still in use in colleges and universities around the country.


1980's: Mr. Izon worked with the National Geographic Explorer series to produce programs on Native Americans, Chinese Opera in Singapore and the environmental challenges of the Everglades. He also worked on dozens of PSA's and campaigns for nearly every Federal agency including the IRS, the US Coast Guard, the US Army and the Social Security Administration.

1990's & early 2000's: Mr. Izon was contracted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide video and audiovisual services for the Secretary of HUD Henry Cisneros and later, Andrew Cuomo. Many of the videos and events produced concentrated on issues of homelessness and providing equal opportunity for homebuyers. Mr. Izon also worked with Attorney General Eric Holder in producing "No More Violence" a community outreach video aimed at teaching new Asian immigrants about the American justice system. Additionally, Mr. Izon worked with Mr. Holder in producing pro bono TV PSA's on limiting handguns in the streets.

2005: Mr. Izon's feature documentary on the 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments, "An Untold Triumph" premiered on Memorial Day on national primetime PBS. It reached an initial audience of nearly 3 million households for its maiden broadcast.

2006: Mr. Izon's Filipino Centennial documentary "Sandaan" was premiered at the Smithsonian Institution to a standing ovation. Mr. Izon continues to travel with the film to visit various colleges and to screen it at film festivals. Currently, he is working on a PBS version of "Sandaan" which he hopes to finish in 2012.

2007: Mr. Izon was commissioned by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council on Culture to document its status as the first sovereign state in the world to achieve carbon neutral status. This pronouncement was broadcast for a worldwide audience at the Live Earth 24-hour telethon that year.

2009: Mr. Izon’s film on WWII African American soldiers, “Choc’late Soldiers from the USA”, which he co-produced with Gregory Cooke, premiered as a work-in-progress on 11/10/2009, at the Hirshhorn Gallery to a standing room audience and was greeted with a sustained standing ovation.  Currently, Mr. Izon and Mr. Cooke are working on a broadcast version of the film which they plan to complete in 2012.

2011: Mr. Izon began work on “An Open Door” the third in his trilogy of forgotten WWII stories. This film documents how the Philippines was able to save more Jews than Schindler in the years leading up to WWII. A spring 2013

completion date is anticipated.

2011: Mr. Izon co-produced and co-wrote “Well of Dreams; The Journey of Ann Okelo” a feature length documentary on the life of Ann Okelo and the  profound changes she made possible for her community of Angiro Kenya. Currently the film is at picture lock stage and Academy Award nominee James Lavino is scoring the film. A 2012 completion is anticipated.


Community Recognition


Since, the 1970's, Noel M. Izon has been involved in the Filipino American community of Greater Washington, DC. Due to his role as media producer, he was able to expose many community members to the importance of media and to have their children participate in the programs both as test audiences and as talent. Mr. Izon continues to mentor young filmmakers and encourages them to bring their voices to the conversation of what it means to be a citizen and to be a Filipino American.


Mr. Izon currently sits on the board of the Jacoby Center at the University of the Pacific in Stockton California, claimed by many as the heartbeat of Filipino American history. Mr. Izon sees his role as a bridge between the community and the University - as a way of informing the University and the larger community on the richness of the Filipino American culture and history. Through Mr. Izon's efforts, the University was able to host a month-long exhibit of "Singgalot" the Smithsonian Institution's exhibit on 100 years of Filipino immigration to America as well as multiple screenings of "Sandaan".  Mr. Izon was a volunteer committee member of the Smithsonian's Centennial Committee which oversaw the design and production of materials for the centennial event. This committee met for a whole year in preparation for the event.


October 2005: The Asian American Studies Program (AAST) of the University of Maryland presented its Alumnus of the year award to Mr. Izon for his pioneering work in Asian and Pacific American documentaries.

2007: Mr. Izon worked with an all volunteer group of students, faculty and community leaders to launch the first ever Filipino American studies program at the University of Maryland. This program is now funded with a full professor attached to the course.

2007: The Community of Sacramento honored Mr. Izon with a Lakandiwa Award. A lakandiwa is considered a village elder - one with useful experience to impart to the community.

2008: The California State Legislature presented Mr. Izon with a resolution commending him for his work with underserved audiences and for producing in a form fit for a national audience. Also in 2008, Mr. Gavin Newsome, Mayor of San Francisco, presented Mr. Izon with a resolution citing his commitment to the Filipino American community through his film and video work over the past 35 years.

2009: The Philippine- American Foundation for Charities, Inc. (PAFC) awarded Mr. Izon a Dakila Achievement Award in the Arts and Culture Category, an award given to members of the community who have provided a lifetime of contribution in their chosen fields to the community at large.

May 2010: Mr. Izon was awarded an Individual Artist Award by the Maryland States Arts Council in the area of Film and Media.

2011: Mr. Izon was elected to the board of the DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival and was relected in 2012 as one of two vice-presidents.