The first screening of “The Promise,” a movie about Armenian Genocide, took place at the Toronto International Film Festival on 11th of September. The film crew, Oscar-winning director Terry George, actors Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac, and Charlotte Le Bon as well as famous musician Serj Tankian, gave many interviews to different publications since then, telling about Armenian Genocide in 1915, the aim of the film, the shooting process, casting etc.
Recently Variety has spoken to producers of the film to find out some details about the funding and difficulties that “The Promise” has faced since its premiere.
“This was personal for Kirk Kerkorian [a businessman of Armenian descent],” says Eric Esrailian. “He always wanted to make an epic film with the best actors available that wouldn’t just be a history lesson.”
And his vision wasn’t cheap. “The Promise,” cost nearly $100 million to make before tax breaks. Kerkorian provided all of the financing through Survival Pictures, a company he set up with Esrailian.
The film has yet to close a distribution deal. Esrailian thinks the subject matter may be scaring some buyers away. There’s a reason for that fear. Turkey continues to deny the systematic killings of Armenians.
“I’ll just say that there are some studios that have business interests in Turkey, and you can form your own opinion,” says Esrailian.
There is another problem too – the evident propaganda campaign to discredit “The Promise.” The film’s IMDb page has received more than 86,000 user votes, the bulk of them one-star ratings, despite the fact that the movie has had only three public screenings.
“The day after we screened the movie, 70,000 people went on IMDb and said they didn’t like the movie,” says Mike Medavoy. “There’s no way that many people saw the movie after one screening. There aren’t that many seats in the theater. ”
“The Promise” centers on a love triangle involving a medical student (Isaac), a journalist (Bale), and the Armenian woman (Charlotte Le Bon) who steals their hearts. All three find themselves grappling with the Ottomans’ decision to begin slaughtering Armenians.
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