#KEEPTHEPROMISE: AGBU ENSURES THE MESSAGE OF THE PROMISE IS HEARD WORLDWIDE (VIDEO MATERIAL)

“The story of the Armenian people is one of tragedy and triumph. It is a story that has been aggressively silenced for decades and that needs to be told to the world.” Eric Esrailian, co-producer of The Promise; the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU); a joint coalition of Armenian organizations in Armenia and the diaspora; and world-renowned celebrities have joined forces in the global promotional campaign to make sure the film's message is heard all over the world.

In Armenia, the closed screening of the historical drama, written by Terry George, was hosted by AGBU Armenia, in cooperation with the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Sharm Holding LLC, at the Moscow Theater in Yerevan. In attendance were the President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan; the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II; representatives of the government and diplomatic corps; as well as cultural and public figures.

Before the subtitles appeared and the dramatic story played out on the big screen, AGBU Armenia president and AGBU Central Board member Vasken Yacoubian took the floor to announce that AGBU promises to help spread the powerful message on the social impact of the film throughout the world.

“We proudly participate in this campaign and the noble cause for justice, truth and dissemination of human values. The Promise, with its quality, world-famous actors and budget is a unique and powerful means of presenting the fact of the Armenian Genocide to the world. The Promise is a clear message to the world that the Armenian people have not only survived, but also continue to create and still have much to give to humanity. The movie is proof of Kirk Kerkorian’s promise to future generations,” said Yacoubian.

The Promise is the story of a love triangle—extraordinary within its historical context—the years of the Armenian Genocide and the beginning of the World War I.

After the Yerevan screening of The Promise, everybody had the same sense that there were no Armenians who could have been left untouched by this tragedy. However, this film is significant not only for Armenians, but for the world to learn to keep its promise and prevent the recurrence of similar human tragedies.

“It is not only important that we, Armenians, know about it, it is important for the world to see,” noted co-founder of the Aurora Prize and president of IDeA Foundation Ruben Vardanyan, emphasizing the fact that finally a Hollywood movie has been made about the darkest period in Armenian history.

“My family went through almost the same horror,” said member of the AGBU Central Board and co-founder of the Aurora Prize Noubar Afeyan. “Our victory is our survival. We, the children of survivors, can amplify and advance that victory every day,” emphasized Afeyan, “I think that the movie should remind the entire world that we have a commitment. If such a crime is committed, we should intervene and help, regardless of our nationality.”

When the world shuts its eyes, writer Terry George turns on his camera and starts his work in the director’s chair. Some 13 years ago, George made one of the most emotionally laden and powerful movies of the new millennium, Hotel Rwanda, where he relayed the story of the genocide of Tutsi refugees in the 1990s. The movie received an Academy Award for Best Script.

“The Armenian Genocide was the first tragedy of the 20th century, which had been buried under the dust of history,” announced the director at the launch of the promotional campaign of the movie. “We all witness the same atrocities being committed by Islamist terrorists in the Middle East in our days as well, just like what the Ottoman government did to Armenians hundred years ago.”

The hero of The Promise says: “God is witness, I am ready for revenge,” but at the same time he proves unable to bring himself to fire his gun; he behaves like a real Christian. The story of salvation of the first Christian nation in the world has also struck a chord with American musician, singer and songwriter Chris Cornell, who has turned his promise into musical notes, finding the theme of the genocide in a symphonic sound. “Armenia will persevere, no matter what. This country and its culture have gone through terrible things; that dreadful story should made be known,” remarked the singer.

In the film, Chris Meyers, played by Christian Bale, is an ordinary American photojournalist who loves an Armenian woman. The Hollywood megastar is one of the brightest actors in the cast of The Promise. Christian Bale’s hero loves Anna (Charlotte Le Bon); he writes and tells the world about the tragedy that is happening to her people.

On the other side of the love triangle is Oscar Isaac. His character in the film, Michael, is a pharmacist who leaves his village Siroun for Constantinople to study medicine at the onset of the War.

“It is particularly impressive to read real stories of survivors, stories that the human mind is unable to comprehend, events that are horrible to imagine,” shares Oscar Isaac about the challenges of his role.

The Promise also stars Jean Reno, James Cromwell and Angela Sarafyan. The original score was composed by Academy-Award winner Gabriel Yared (The English Patient).

The musical consultant of the film, Serj Tankian, the System of a Down frontman, is among the celebrities of the world campaign for The Promise. The drive to support the movie started at the Oscar’s gala party held by Elton John’s AIDS Foundation. “I proudly present a movie about survivors called The Promise,” announced Sir Elton John. “It reminds me of the necessity to keep the promise, learn lessons from the past, and unite to prevent crimes committed against humanity.”

Genocides flourish when the world shuts its eyes and stays silent. Producer of The Promise and AGBU Central Board member Eric Esrailian and the world have already felt the effect of the denial of the Turkish government and the orchestrated campaign against the film. The movie has had a low rating right after its appearance on IMDb with Turkish users rating and writing negative reviews. Political scientists call this a new, post-modernist form of the genocide denial.

However over 91,000 negative votes may well work in favor of the movie, facilitating its promotion and distribution. Few IMDb movies have experienced such a noisy trial before their release.

The Promise was screened in Armenia with Armenian dubbing arranged by Sharm Holding LLC and H1 Public TV Company. The professional crew of actors working on it comment that it was not an ordinary dubbing to them, but a great honor and a major responsibility.

 

VIDEO MATERIAL

 

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