'The Promise' crew talks awareness of Armenian Genocide in Skype interview

FRESNO, Calif. - It's described as an epic love story involving a medical student, a journalist and the women who comes between them.  But there's another story to be told in this star studded release, that's far more complex.  The film is set in the final years of the Ottoman Empire.  And as this love story plays out, so does the story of the Armenian Genocide.  

Terry George co-wrote and directed The Promise.  He and actress Angela Sarafyan spoke via Skype about the film, and the role it will play to spread awareness about the tragedy in 1915 when one and a half million Armenian lives were lost at the hands of Ottoman Turks.  George says he felt responsible to get the story right. " And the feel of the story we were telling was accurate and moving and at least paid homage to the people who had died and the people who had survived," says George.

Sarafyan is originally from Armenia.  She says her portrayal of an Armenian women in The Promise was meaningful.  "Hearing all the stories from my grandparents about the genocide and the stories each of their families went through and how they all became who they are today.  I found that it was meant to be and I had to be a part of it," Sarafyan says.

The Promise stars Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale.  Big Hollywood names in a big budget film.  Armenian American businessman Kirk Kerkorian, born in Fresno, provided millions to finance it.  He died in 2015 just as The Promise began production.

"It's a love story in that classic form against the backdrop of the genocide that hopefully would appeal to as many people as possible.  And yet make the Armenian population in America and the diaspora around the world feel for the first time this story had been told," George says.

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