Photo from The Promise (2017, Survival Pictures)
The Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law was established in April 2017 with a founding gift of $20 million. Support for the gift includes proceeds from The Promise, a feature film about the Armenian genocide released on April 21, 2017, as well as other donations and university resources.
Dr. Eric Esrailian, co-producer of The Promise and a faculty member at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, spearheaded the donation effort.
The Promise is a feature film set during the Armenian genocide of 1915-1917, where more than 1.5 million people perished in an atrocity driven by ethnic and religious intolerance. The Promise is directed by Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) and stars Christian Bale, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Oscar Isaac.
Dr. Esrailian co-produced The Promise with veteran film producer William Horberg, Phoenix Pictures Chairman Mike Medavoy, Lincy Foundation Chairman Anthony Mandekic and others for Survival Pictures, a production company founded by the late Kirk Kerkorian and dedicated to telling stories of perseverance and human endurance.
Kerkorian, a Southern California businessman and philanthropist, founded the Lincy Foundation in 1989 and the Dream Fund at UCLA in 2011 to support education, medical research and other projects to benefit people around the world.
"The Promise Institute is so named because UCLA and the UCLA School of Law 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," said Dr. Esralian. "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."