Elton John to Introduce Armenian Genocide Film ‘The Promise’ at Oscars Viewing Party

The Elton John AIDS Foundation to Host Special Viewing/Awareness/Fundraising Venture at its 25th Oscar-Night Party

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.—The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF)’s 25th annual Academy Awards Viewing Party will held on Feb. 26, at West Hollywood Park, during which Sir Elton John and David Furnish will introduce Open Road and Survival Pictures new film The Promise, which tells the story of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey at the outset of WWI.  Written by Terry George and Robin Swicord and directed by Terry George (Hotel Rwanda), The Promise stars Oscar Issac, Christian Bale, and Charlotte Le Bon.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) thanked Elton John for his initiative in a Facebook post (Photo: ANCA/Facebook)

“We have only to look at the horrific HIV/AIDS outbreak that followed in the wake of the Rwandan genocide in the mid-1990’s to understand the direct connection between human rights atrocities and public health crises like the AIDS epidemic,” said EJAF founder Elton John. “Through our friendships with the Manoukian family and producer Dr. Eric Esrailian from UCLA, David and I became more personally aware of the Armenian Genocide and its timely relevance to social issues today. The film’s theme #KeepThePromise can be interpreted as keeping the promise to remember and learn from the atrocities of the past, as well as keeping the promise to end AIDS.  At EJAF, we are committed to #KeepThePromise and raise awareness about this powerful film that uses classic storytelling to inspire people to take action today.  We are honored to share the important timing of our Oscar-night event to introduce people to The Promise.”

In addition to sharing EJAF’s vision for championing human rights, The Promise team at Survival Pictures has taken the unprecedented step of making the commitment to donate all proceeds from the film to nonprofit organizations including EJAF and other human rights and humanitarian groups.  As part of this commitment and to inspire party guests to give generously, Survival Pictures will match the pledges guests make to EJAF via text and live auction purchases made during EJAF’s Academy Awards Viewing Party with the goal of making this a record-setting evening.

“Such giving has never happened with a film of this scale, we wanted the world to know about it, and we are incredibly grateful,” said EJAF chair David Furnish. “We are honored to announce this generosity, thanks to the late philanthropist and humanitarian Kirk Kerkorian, on the eve of EJAF’s 25th annual Academy Awards Viewing Party.  Not only is The Promise committing to support EJAF’s work, but matching funds will be provided to inspire donors even more throughout the event and live auction.”

Survival Pictures has also developed a social impact campaign for The Promise to help educate the global public about the genocides and mass atrocities of the 20th and 21st centuries, the discussion about the legal definition of genocide, and historical denialism.  The impact campaign will inform and inspire people to take action so they become part of the anti-genocide movement led by human rights organizations like EJAF as well as change-makers dedicated to ending crimes against humanity and bringing perpetrators to justice.

The film sets a love story in the midst of the growing unrest in 1914 Turkey leading up to the horrors of the Armenian Genocide.  As the Great War looms, the mighty Ottoman Empire is crumbling. Constantinople, the once vibrant, multicultural capital on the shores of the Bosporus, is about to be consumed by chaos. Michael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac), arrives in the cosmopolitan hub as a medical student determined to bring modern medicine back to Siroun, his ancestral village in Southern Turkey where Turkish Muslims and Armenian Christians have lived side by side for centuries. Photo-journalist Chris Myers (Christian Bale), has come here only partly to cover geo-politics. He is mesmerized by his love for Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), an Armenian artist he has accompanied from Paris after the sudden death of her father. When Michael meets Ana, their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between the two men. As the Turks form an alliance with Germany and the Empire turns violently against its own ethnic minorities, their conflicting passions must be deferred while they join forces to survive even as events threaten to overwhelm them. Promises are made and promises are broken. The one promise that must be kept is to live on and tell the story.

“The Armenian Genocide must, of course, never be forgotten and should be recognized, but our current headlines show that the same patterns of human rights violations are being replicated in too many parts of the world today,” said producer Dr. Eric Esrailian. “We are honored to have the support of Elton, David, and the entire EJAF family, and by joining forces, we can help the people in the world who need assistance right now.”

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.


  1. This story sent chills up my back. Thank you all for caring enough to share the story of the Armenian Genocide.

  2. I have always admired Elton John as an artist throughout my life (I am 59 now). I accompany the piano and sing a couple of his songs always such as ‘Daniel’ and ‘Your Song’. Thank you, John. Having said that, I look forward to watching ‘The Promise’ impatiently.

  3. I hope it will get the recognition it deserves. Well done Elton Jon. Also grateful to the late Kirk Kerkorian for their generosity.

  4. My Thanks to Elton John, and also to everybody that was involved into making this Promise movie, a reality.

    I would also like to mention here that my parents were survivors of the Armenian Genocide. My father has written his autobiography, about his life, before and after the Armneian Genocide. The Ottoman empire’s barbaric tactics, to annihilate the Armenian christians. my father lost all his family members. His parents, Two brothers, and two sisters. It is extremely emotional, and heart wrenching. The transcript is approximately over 300 pages.

    I am also so grateful and thankfull, for the late Kirk Kerkorian for his generosity, for the production of this movie.

  5. The memories were so tragic and horrible that it was never discussed in our home until as we grew older and asked our parents. This is a thank you to everyone that is bringing awareness to the nightmares that were and still are tragic.

  6. Thank you Elton and David.It is time for this movie to be shown. Glad it is opening in April which is the anniversary month of these events.My grandfather died in 1915 as a victim.

  7. Thanks to the producers of the film Thanks to Kirk Krikorian, Thanks to the responsible of approaching Elton John to accept promoting this film. I think he is embrassing the Armenian cause like Lord Byron.

  8. I don’t think the film the promise will depict accuracy of the events and lead up to or explain both sides the Turks were at war there empire crumbling ! They needed there people ! It doesn’t make sense why do away with your own citizens unless they were against and sidding with the nations enanies !! , didn’t they coexist for 6 or 8 hundred years together !! I just don’t think the Turks would have just woken up one morning and decided to kill there citizens !

  9. My heartfelt thanks to Elton and David and to all involved with making this movie. It depicts the atrocities suffered by all Armenians and especially my family the Beshirians and Tashjians, a few who thankfully survived and escaped. They came to America with nothing but a vision for tomorrow, of greatness and gratitude and a foundation of new hope and peace.

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