HOLLYWOOD, Calif.—At the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF)’s 25th annual Academy Awards Viewing Party to be held on Sunday, February 26, at West Hollywood Park, Sir Elton John and David Furnish will introduce Open Road and Survival Pictures new film – The Promise – which tells the story of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey at the outset of World War I. Written by Terry George and Robin Swicord and directed by Terry George (Hotel Rwanda), The Promise stars Oscar Issac, Christian Bale, and Charlotte Le Bon.
“We have only to look at the horrific HIV/AIDS outbreak that followed in the wake of the Rwandan genocide in the mid-1990s to understand the direct connection between human rights atrocities and public health crises like the AIDS epidemic,” said EJAF Founder Elton John. “Through our friendships with the Manoukian family and producer Dr. Eric Esrailian from UCLA, David and I became more personally aware of the Armenian Genocide and its timely relevance to social issues today. The film’s theme #KeepThePromise can be interpreted as keeping the promise to remember and learn from the atrocities of the past, as well as keeping the promise to end AIDS. At EJAF, we are committed to #KeepThePromise and raise awareness about this powerful film that uses classic storytelling to inspire people to take action today. We are honored to share the important timing of our Oscar-night event to introduce people to The Promise.”
In addition to sharing EJAF’s vision for championing human rights, The Promise team at Survival Pictures has taken the unprecedented step of making the commitment to donate all proceeds from the film to nonprofit organizations including EJAF and other human rights and humanitarian groups. As part of this commitment and to inspire Party guests to give generously, Survival Pictures will match the pledges guests make to EJAF via text and live auction purchases made during EJAF’s Academy Awards Viewing Party with the goal of making this a record-setting evening.
“Such giving has never happened with a film of this scale, we wanted the world to know about it, and we are incredibly grateful,” said EJAF Chairman David Furnish. “We are honored to announce this generosity, thanks to the late philanthropist and humanitarian Kirk Kerkorian, on the eve of EJAF’s 25th annual Academy Awards Viewing Party. Not only is The Promise committing to support EJAF’s work, but matching funds will be provided to inspire donors even more throughout the event and live auction.”
Survival Pictures has also developed a social impact campaign for The Promise to help educate the global public about the genocides and mass atrocities of the 20th and 21st centuries, the discussion about the legal definition of genocide, and historical denialism. The impact campaign will inform and inspire people to take action so they become part of the anti-genocide movement led by human rights organizations like EJAF as well as change-makers dedicated to ending crimes against humanity and bringing perpetrators to justice.
The film sets a love story in the midst of the growing unrest in 1914 Turkey leading up to the horrors of the Armenian Genocide. As the Great War looms, the mighty Ottoman Empire is crumbling. Constantinople, the once vibrant, multicultural capital on the shores of the Bosporus, is about to be consumed by chaos. Michael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac) arrives in the cosmopolitan hub as a medical student determined to bring modern medicine back to Siroun, his ancestral village in Southern Turkey where Turkish Muslims and Armenian Christians have lived side by side for centuries. Photo-journalist Chris Myers (Christian Bale) has come here only partly to cover geo-politics. He is mesmerized by his love for Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), an Armenian artist he has accompanied from Paris after the sudden death of her father. When Michael meets Ana, their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between the two men. As the Turks form an alliance with Germany and the Empire turns violently against its own ethnic minorities, their conflicting passions must be deferred while they join forces to survive even as events threaten to overwhelm them. Promises are made and promises are broken. The one promise that must be kept is to live on and tell the story.
“The Armenian Genocide must, of course, never be forgotten and should be recognized, but our current headlines show that the same patterns of human rights violations are being replicated in too many parts of the world today,” said producer Dr. Eric Esrailian. “We are honored to have the support of Elton, David, and the entire EJAF family, and by joining forces, we can help the people in the world who need assistance right now.”
Can’t wait to see this film! Looks and sounds very promising and hopefully will help educate many people WW about the Ottoman atrocities against Armenians during first world war.
Glad to see people have begun to realize one of the earliest 20th, Century Genocides. Almost forgotten by the second world war. My good friend, is a Manoogian, whose family came through the desert to escape. His grandfather had a bounty on his head, and one brother was set a fire in the desert, while escaping these horrible atrocities. Hitler never
forgot, and used the forgotten Armenian Genocide, as foundation, to commit the genocide against the Jewish population of Germany.
“Who, after all, speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians”? Adolf Hitler
Let us not forget, the death of these kind, Christian people, of a Country long forgotten,
and renamed under a Turkish Flag. Yes the Armenians, were systematically killed. Let
us not forget are fellow brothers and sisters of The Great Country of Armenia. Thank you, David Furnish and Sir Elton John for bringing this forward, to be seen and understood by the world.
With many tears, thank you!
Harry , I just sent it.
Yes it’s about time this horrific genocide was featured in a movie…some countries still have not recognized it …including USA!
It’s about time someone made a movie about this horrific event that happened 101 years ago. It’s about time that all countries should recognize it…including the USA!!
I look forward to seeing and am very grateful that Sir Elton and David have had the courage to show this which I hope will reawaken the world to this period in our history!
Thank you Sir Elton John. The lens is mightier then the sword. The more light on injustice the better. More people like you should be brave enough to stand up to fake news and corrupt governments.