Documentary Produced by Eatontown Man Wins Best International Documentary at Garden State Film Festival

Posted on April 1, 2015 By

Oro Macht Frei (Gold Will Set You Free), a 70-minute documentary that tells the story of the Roman Jewish experience during the Nazi occupation of Rome, September 1943 through June 1944, won Best International Documentary out of 15 submissions at the 13th annual Garden State Film Festival (GSFF), Atlantic City, on March 22.

Joel Markel, the founder and president of Preferred Home Health Care & Nursing Services, Eatontown, and the executive producer and founder of Ottimo Films, created Oro Macht Frei to create a personal reflection of the Holocaust in Italy by weaving testimony from Roman Jews who lived there with historical research of Susan Zuccotti, Alexander Stille, and Liliana Picciotto. Additionally he wanted to honor the experience of his mother and the millions of victims of the Jewish genocide by contributing to the field of Holocaust memory.

Markel said, “I am extremely proud of the award won at the GSFF. Many years of hard work went into the making of this incredible production. This award goes to the men, women and children of the Holocaust in Italy who were not given a chance to tell about their suffering and deaths at the hands of the Nazis. It is my hope that this film lives on as a testimonial to them.”

In 2004, during a tour of the Roman Ghetto, Markel first heard the story of Kappler’s Gold, an extortion plot perpetrated by Herbert Kappler, the head of the SS, who demanded 50 kilos of gold within 36 hours or 200 Jewish family heads would be deported. Markel immediately felt connected to this story because for generations his family had worked as jewelers and because he is the son of a Hungarian Auschwitz survivor.

“I made this film not only to tell of the Holocaust in Italy but as a way of eradicating hatred and bigotry throughout the world,” said Markel. “My wish would be for it to be shown in schools and institutions worldwide. It is our responsibility as adults to point young minds to healthy and free directions in a world of peace.”

The GSFF is an independent film festival, attended by thousands of people, featuring a weekend full of world-wide independent films. Oro Macht Frei was chosen Best International Documentary by a panel of professional judges based on the strength of the script, its production value, and the content. Many of the films showcased at the GSFF will go on to get distribution.

For more information, visit or contact Lisa Gallicchio, director of community relations at Preferred Home Health Care & Nursing Services, at 732-547-9886 or

About Joel Markel: Joel Markel is the founder and president of Preferred Home Health Care & Nursing Services (PHHC), Eatontown, a company that provides a wide range of medical and non-medical home health care services from pediatric to geriatric care throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He and his wife Stephanie recently received a recognition award for their long-term commitment to the Homeless Health Initiative (HHI), a volunteer outreach program run by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).