Washington Times: ‘The Promise’ director: Trolls releases fake reviews of Armenian genocide film

From the Washington Times:


By Eric Althoff - The Washington Times - Monday, April 17, 2017

In the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, with defeat at the hands of the Allies all but assured in the Great War, Turkish authorities began rounding up the Empire’s Armenian population for systematic extermination.

More than a century removed, Ankara’s official position remains one of abject denial.

“It’s one of the most repressed events of the 20th century, and so one of the functions of the film is educational,” said filmmaker Terry George, whose genocide drama “The Promise” opens in the District this weekend.

“The Promise” opens in Istanbul 1915, where Armenian medical student Mikael Boghosian(Oscar Isaacs) falls for Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), despite his being promised to another Armenian from his village. Ana, meanwhile is in Turkey on the arm of Chris Myers (Christian Bale), an American reporter whose reporting about the genocide will soon make him a target of Turkish authorities.

Although connected politically, soon enough Mikael’s allies are unable to save him from the fate of his people, and he is sent to a forced labor camp.

Mr. George, who previously wrote the Rwandan genocide film “Hotel Rwanda,” said the subject of man’s inhumanity to man has continued to draw him.

“I also feel it’s a dying genre and not enough of these films are being made,” Mr. George, a native of Northern Ireland, told The Washington Times. “It’s probably one of the most important genres in the whole business.”

And one that seemingly cannot escape politics. “The Promise” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) last September, but before the end credits had even finished rolling, there were thousands of negative reviews posted to the IMDB.

Mr. George minces no words as to who was likely responsible.

“Basically what happened was either 55,000 Turks decided to vote having not seen the movie, or someone installed a bot to continually inflate that number,” he said. “I think that’s the history of Turkey with this story for the past hundred years.”

“The Promise” was shot on location in Portugal, Spain and Malta. It was key, Mr. George said, for this to lend his film an air of authenticity, especially the death marches when Ottomon soldiers were marching Armenians through the deserts — most of them to their deaths.

A crucial plot turn later in the film has Mikael leading a desperate run with his people to the Meditteran Sea, where he hopes to be rescued by French naval forces. This was based on an actual event, Mr. George explained.

“It’s a particular part of the genocide” and a brief moment of hope, Mr. George said. “There’s a level of acquainting an audience with these real events.”

Mr. George is hopeful that an eventual acknoledgment — if not an apology — from the Turkish government may yet come, even a century removed from the events depicted in “The Promise.” He said it is crucial that the events are in fact called a genocide, “which is a legal term and a codified crime,” he said. “I think it’s very important that this be established as such.”

Such sentiments were echoed by Eric Esrailian, one of the film’s producers and a professor of medicine at UCLA in Los Angeles.

“I think if people walk out of [‘The Promise’] and feel inspired to do something for humanity, we have several opportunities in the world today to stop … man’s inhuamity to man,” said Mr. Esrailian, who has Armenian heritage. “Get involved through various NGOs, and just to do something to make the world a bette place.:

“The main purpose of the film is to educate people and move them, and then hope that it builds up a momentum,” said Mr. George.

“Never forget,” added Mr. Esrailian.

EUROPA REPORT - first reviews

Check out this review for the upcoming indie film Europa Report which I was lucky enough to be a part of...

Here's an excerpt:

Taken a step further, Cordero and his visual team deserve huge credit for pushing "faux doco" storytelling a little further. If all you know of this filmmaking technique is that it's generally herky-jerky and ugly and potentially nauseating, be prepared to change your perception of "found footage." Put simply: Europa Report is gorgeous to look at. The basic character scenes are crisp and clean and yes, a tad Kubrick-ish, but once Cordero points his cameras towards outer space or (even better) around the destination moon, the movie is quite simply beautiful.


Kudos to John Bair and the team at Phosphene as well as the gangs Method, Perception, LookFX, Brandon Taylor and Nat Jencks for all the great work!




We were shooting an elevator control room in a new building in the 57th floor above times square. It sort of forces a new perspective on the world. I felt bad for the grips who had to carry the dolly up the last three flights where the elevator didn't go.

After the storm

Here's what subway stops in queens look like after snowpocalypse 2. I was asked to come out to set because there was snow in the background that wasn't there in the previous moment, shot before the storm. By the time I got to the set after my driver getting stuck in the snow, they figured out how to mask the snow without my help. I'm heading home now.


I was asked to take a brief hiatus from The Adjustment Bureau (the project I'm on right now).



Just a week or more if the scheudle would allow. Beth and I decided to have a little stay-cation. We've been dropping Dylan off at day care and enjoying a few quiet and lazy days together.

I've discovered the one day work week. It rules!

Every week should be like this.



Nearing the end...

I'm so close to end of principle photography on The Adjustment Bureau that I can taste it, or maybe that is the what's left of my dinner. In either case, I'm looking forward to things slowing down a bit and getting to spend a little more to with my amazing family.

Here's a picture.