‘The Promise will inspire people to unite against genocides’ – Academy Award-winning director Terry George’s interview to ARMENPRESS
YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 23, ARMENPRESS. Decades long efforts to make an Armenian Genocide movie in Hollywood, which were continuously failing due to Turkish lobbying efforts, succeeded only in 2016 when “The Promise” premiered. The director of the movie is Terry George, who also directed another genocide-themed film, the Academy Award nominated Hotel Rwanda.
Terry George is currently in Armenia on a visit.
On September 22, George was present at the “We Promise” play in Yerevan, a theatrical adaptation of the film.
After the play, ARMENPRESS had an interview with Terry George.
- First of all let me thank you for “The Promise”. It really touched us all.
- Thank you. It was a great honor for me to film it, and come to Armenia and screen it here.
- This isn’t your first film about genocide. The first one was Hotel Rwanda. What makes this film special for you?
- When I was preparing to make Hotel Rwanda and when I was researching the Rwandan Genocide, I read about the Armenian Genocide, about concealing what has happened, about the “successes” the Turkish government had in covering up what had happened. We finally had the chance to show this story on screen through “The Promise”. It really was a great honor, something which I couldn’t refuse. Kirk Kerkorian, Survival Pictures gave me a budget and opportunity to create such an epic.
- Long lasting research works on the genocide history preceded the filmmaking process. I know that you’ve read many books and watched many films on this matter. Is there one particular episode which impressed or inspired you the most in making this film?
- I’ve made much research, but during the shooting of the movie I was greatly inspired by Archbishop Grigoris Palakian’s Armenian Golgotha. He was one of the scholars who was arrested during the genocide but was able to escape and survive. His autobiographic book, which was translated by his grandson Peter Balakian, inspired me a lot.
- The film was another measure for telling the world about the Armenian Genocide, to raise awareness and in this way prevent similar crimes in the future. Do you think you reached this goal?
- We made a film which tells about what has happened in the past. But at the same time, I think the film is very modern, because if we look at what happened one century ago, we understand that the same thing is happening today. I hope this film will inspire people to unite against genocides, which is happening today in Myanmar, Central African Republic, with Yazidis in Iraq. This isn’t simply a movie. We began a movement to unite forces against genocides. I hope that we have reached this goal at least to some extent.
- Is this your first visit to Armenia? Did you visit the Armenian Genocide Memorial?
- This is my second visit to Armenia. Last time I was here 4 years ago. Like last time, this time I will also visit the Armenian Genocide Memorial, where I will plant a tree. This is really an emotional moment. I will definitely go there.
Interview by Araks Kasyan
Photos by Tatev Duryan