Former MGM Resorts Owner's Armenian Genocide Film Release on April 21stApril 18, 2017 9:20 am
Kirk Kerkorian, a US billionaire of Armenian descent, promised to make a movie about the Armenian genocide, and even allocated $100 million from his vast fortune to ensure that the historic tragedy was brought to a cinema audience. In June 2015, however, he died aged 98 without having seen his project started, with the film only being worked upon in autumn of the same year.
Almost two years later, and “The Promise” is now due to hit the big screen on April 21st, three days before the official Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, fulfilling one of the life-long dreams of Kerkorian. The movie explores a love triangle that develops during the events that transpired during the Armenian Genocide between an Armenian medical student Mikael (Oscar Isaac), an Armenian-born woman living in France (Charlotte Le Bon), and a Paris-based American journalist (Chris Bale).
The tragic event in history took place between 1915-1917 in the Ottoman Empire, whose successor state is the Republic of Turkey. During the genocide, around 1.5 million Armenians were killed and had their properties confiscated, and while the extermination is widely documented, the Turkish government still refuses to recognize it as a genocide. In fact, Article 301 of the Turkish penal code makes it a crime to “insult Turkishness,” with anyone daring to utter the word genocide tried for treason, and sent to prison. In the meantime, Kirk Kerkorian’s parents were fortunate enough to have escaped the mass killings, and after moving to California, Kirk was born in 1917.
Kirk Kerkorian grew up to be an influential entrepreneur, and is one of the people credited with building and developing Las Vegas and the Strip. Kerkorian was also a pioneer of the “mega-resort” concept, and after acquiring a 40% stake in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, he subsequently created the MGM Resorts brand. Three of his projects still remain, including Bally’s Las Vegas (formerly MGM Grand Hotel), Westgate (formerly International Hotel), and MGM Grand.