Saturday, October 22, 2016
Turkish 'trolls' trying to denigrate 'The Promise' The Armenian Genocide Epic.
Turkish 'trolls' trying to denigrate 'The Promise' The Armenian Genocide Epic Kirk Kerkorian Spent a Fortune to Make. (Variety).
“The Promise,” a sweeping historical romance starring Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale, is the kind of movie epic they just don’t make anymore.
It’s risky, but not just in that way. Not only is it one of the most expensive independently financed films ever made, it also deals frankly with the Armenian genocide. The mass killings of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire took place between 1915 and 1922, but decades later, the episode remains politically fraught. Bringing the story to the masses was a mission for Kirk Kerkorian, a businessman of Armenian descent who once owned Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He died in 2015 as the film was going into production.
His vision wasn’t cheap. “The Promise,” co-written and directed by Terry George (“Hotel Rwanda”), 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, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, 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. Officials in Turkey continue to deny that systematic killings of Armenians took place. “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 were no public protests at the Toronto premiere, but there is already evidence of a 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.
That’s more user reviews than appear for “Finding Dory,” the highest-grossing film of the year. The filmmakers say reaction on social platforms has been equally intense.
“The day after we screened the movie, 70,000 people went on IMDb and said they didn’t like the movie,” says Mike Medavoy, one of the film’s producers. “There’s no way that many people saw the movie after one screening. There aren’t that many seats in the theater. ”
Egoyan warns that the controversy is just starting. “It’s going to be a tough ride,” he says. “The denialist lobby is very well-organized.”Read the full story here.
More on the Armenian Genocide here.