The Promise Film: Our Origin Story
Raising Awareness Through Art
The Promise Institute owes its founding to Dr. Eric Esrailian, producer of the film The Promise. As the first feature film to tell the story of the Armenian Genocide, The Promise is a powerful example of the way art can connect history to action. The Armenian Genocide began in 1915, and in time more than 1.5 million people would perish in an atrocity driven by ethnic and religious intolerance.
Following the film’s premiere, Dr. Esrailian and fellow producer Anthony Mandekic used the film’s proceeds to launch our Institute. “The Promise Institute is so named because we are making the promise to refugees and people suffering from injustice that we will create the tools and train the people to address these crises.”
The film was directed by Terry George (director and co-writer of Hotel Rwanda) and stars Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, Christian Bale, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Angela Sarafyan and an international cast. Esrailian produced The Promise with Phoenix Pictures chairman and fellow UCLA alumnus Mike Medavoy and veteran film producer William Horberg.
Esrailian and Anthony Mandekic, formerly president and CEO of Tracinda Corporation, were also the co-managers of Survival Pictures, which was founded by the late Los Angeles businessman and legendary philanthropist Kirk Kerkorian. Survival Pictures was specifically established to tell this story of perseverance and human endurance, its complementary documentary Intent to Destroy, and to secure U.S. government recognition of the Armenian Genocide. The films, and the accompanying social impact campaign, were used by human rights activists and advocates to finally accomplish this goal in 2021.
Learn More About the Making of “The Promise”
“In this project, we are carrying on the work of Mr. Kerkorian, creating positive social impact and informing people around the world about atrocities, and our shared responsibility to recognize and prevent them.”Dr. Eric Esrailian, Producer, The Promise
A sister documentary to The Promise was produced alongside the film: directed by Joe Berlinger, Intent to Destroy captures the cinematic and political challenges of producing a historically meaningful, big-budget feature film in an environment rife with political suppression and threats of retaliation.