Academy Award and Seven-Time Emmy-Nominated Filmmaker Joe Berlinger Completes “Intent to Destroy”
a Definitive Documentary on the Armenian Genocide and the legacy of Turkish Denial
Hard-Hitting Film to World Premiere at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, timed to Coincide with Annual Global Commemoration of the Mass Killings
(New York, April 19, 2017) Survival Pictures announced today the completion of Academy Award-nominated and multiple-Emmy winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger’s feature documentary “Intent to Destroy.” The film uses the on-set production of Oscar-winning director Terry George’s feature film, “The Promise,” as a springboard to explore the violent history of the Armenian Genocide and the legacy of Turkish suppression and denial over the past century.
“Intent to Destroy” is dedicated to the estimated 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide and to all victims of mass slaughter around the world. The film has been timed to world premiere at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival on Tuesday, April 25th, which coincides with the 102nd Armenian Genocide Commemoration.
There will be three additional public festival screenings in New York on April 27, April 28, April 29th – festival ticket information: http://bit.ly/2oEOJt5 – followed by a theatrical release later this year.
“When Joe Berlinger came to us with the idea of using the making of ‘The Promise’ as a device to pull back the veil and explore the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide, as well as the legacy of Turkish denial of this horrific reality over the last hundred years – we were convinced that this was the perfect opportunity to make a definitive stand-alone documentary on the topic in a way that would be accessible to a 21st century audience,” said Eric Esrailian, Survival Pictures co-Manager and producer of “The Promise.”
Esrailian continued, “Joe’s unparalleled two decade-long track-record of making landmark films about social justice combined with his passion for tenacious investigative reporting, assured us that he was the perfect filmmaker to thoroughly examine this underreported, yet undeniable, dark chapter in recent human history.”
Although the documentary takes us behind-the-scenes of the first mainstream Hollywood production to challenge the taboo of making these kinds of films due to US State Department and Turkish interference, “Intent to Destroy” vastly transcends the behind-the-scenes genre. The film thoroughly explores the complex history of the genocide and its post-World War I denial by western powers and Turkish campaigns right up through present day. A wide variety of activists and scholars provide insight through thoughtful interviews, including those who maintain an opposing view.
“I am indebted to Survival Pictures for not only allowing me unfettered access to the set of ‘The Promise,’ but for also encouraging me to dig deeply into the history of the Armenian Genocide and its repercussions for today,” said Joe Berlinger. “United States government policy has aided and abetted the sweeping of this morally repugnant chapter of history under the rug. In this current age of alternative facts and fake news, it has never been more important to showcase the truth, not just as a way to understand the complexity of Middle East politics, but also to bring a sense of healing and closure to the families of both the victims and the perpetrators.”
According to the Tribeca Film Festival catalog: “Historians, scholars, and high-profile filmmakers come together in Berlinger’s cinematic exploration of the tangled web of responsibility that has driven a century of denial by the Turkish government and its strategic allies. ‘Intent to Destroy’ is a timely reckoning with the large-scale suppression of a historical tragedy. Berlinger confronts the fraught task of shedding light on the Armenian Genocide — whose witnesses and descendants are still fighting to be officially acknowledged as such by the international community — how it was carried out during World War I as the reign of the Ottoman Empire drew to a close, and how it laid the groundwork for the genocides that followed.”
The world premiere screening will be followed by a panel conversation with director/screenwriter Joe Berlinger; author and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Peter Balakian; singer, composer, activist and lead member of Grammy-winning metal band, System of a Down, Serj Tankian; producer Eric Esrailian; author/actor Eric Bogosian; and former US Ambassador to Armenia, John Marshall Evans. The panel will be moderated by the executive director at Human Rights Watch, Sarah Leah Whitson.
Survival Pictures presents a RadicalMedia and Third Eye Motion Picture Company Production in Association with Bloom Project. Directed and produced by Joe Berlinger with Eric Esrailian and Chip Rosenbloom also serving as producers; Anthony Mandekic, Patricia L. Glaser, Dan Taylor, Sheri Sani, Jon Kamen, Dave O’Connor, and Justin Wilkes are executive producers; Joe Berlinger co-wrote the film with Cy Christiansen, who also served as editor; Music composed by Serj Tankian; Bob Richman served as the cinematographer.
About Survival Pictures
Survival Pictures was established in 2012 by the late legendary businessman and humanitarian Kirk Kerkorian – who appointed his mentees Eric Esrailian and Anthony Mandekic as co-managers. With a mission of creating unique and specific content with social impact, Esrailian and his team at Survival Pictures developed and produced “The Promise,” directed by Terry George and starring Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale. “The Promise” debuts in theaters nationwide on April 21, 2017.
About Joe Berlinger
Academy Award®-nominated and Emmy® and Peabody-winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger has been a leading voice in nonfiction film and television for two decades, with a particular emphasis on the criminal justice system. Berlinger’s films include the landmark documentaries “Brother’s Keeper” (PBS), a Sundance audience award winner; the “Paradise Lost Trilogy” (HBO), which helped lead to the release of the wrongfully-convicted West Memphis Three after 18 years of incarceration; and most recently, “Whitey: United States of America vs. James J. Bulger,” a searing investigation into law enforcement corruption at the highest levels (CNN). Six of Berlinger’s documentary features have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, earning three Grand Jury Prize nominations. Berlinger has been a creator on numerous nonfiction television series, including six seasons of the critically-acclaimed Sundance Channel series “Iconoclasts;” the Emmy®-winning “Ten Days That Changed America for The History Channel;” the Emmy®-nominated series “Oprah’s Master Class” and “The System with Joe Berlinger” for Al Jazeera America. “Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru” premiered on Netflix in July 2016. Berlinger’s most recent TV series is “Killing Richard Glossip,” a world premiere two-night event, that kicked off Monday, April 17 on Investigation Discovery that details the plight a death row inmate who many believe is innocent and has run out of legal options with an execution looming. Third Eye Motion Picture Company, Joe Berlinger’s film and television development company, partners with RadicalMedia on his nonfiction productions.
RadicalMedia is an Oscar-, Emmy-, Peabody- and Grammy Award-winning studio, with recent credits that include “MARS” for National Geographic; “Stan Against Evil” for IFC; “Hamilton’s America” for PBS’ Great Performances; Netflix’s “Abstract: The Art of Design,” which had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival; and “May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers,” which won the Audience Award: 24 Beats Per Second at SXSW 2017 and was acquired by HBO. RadicalMedia’s vast body of work also includes the Oscar-winning documentary “The Fog of War”; Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning “What Happened, Miss Simone?” for Netflix; “Keith Richards: Under the Influence” for Netflix; and Epix’s docuseries “America Divided;” as well as numerous Joe Berlinger directed projects, including the Oscar-and Emmy-nominated “Paradise Lost: Purgatory” for HBO; “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster”; “Under African Skies” for A&E; “Whitey: The US vs. James J. Bulger” for CNN and the 4-part docuseries “Killing Richard Glossip,” debuting this month on Investigation Discovery. See more at RadicalMedia.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.