Nearly 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.
"Powerful and relevant, "The Promise" is a sweeping epic which shines an important light on the Armenian Genocide", said Greg Sorvig, Heartland Film's director of film programming and marketing.
Dr. Eric Esrailian, the lead producer of The Promise and a faculty member at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, spearheaded the effort to establish the institute. "No one was ever really held accountable", added Bale, who said that the goal with the film is bigger than entertainment.
"This visionary gift is a giant step toward making UCLA Law the premier center for human rights in Southern California", said law Dean Jennifer Mnookin. "This is a message for humanity that there is still a need [for] global action".
She said the gift will help UCLA hire more faculty, sponsor guest speakers, host human rights symposia and support students through fellowships.
UCLA Law students and faculty now work with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on the Right to Food and on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance; and with human rights organizations in countries including Bangladesh, Honduras, India and South Africa.
Speaking about the Armenian Genocide, Bale said: "One and a half million people were killed in the most brutal fashion, and I knew nothing about it, and that's not uncommon". When Michael (Oscar Isaac), a brilliant medical student, meets Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between Michael and Ana's boyfriend Chris (Christian Bale), a famous American photojournalist dedicated to exposing political truth. "George says he felt responsible to get the story right".
Esrailian produced The Promise with Phoenix Pictures chairman and fellow UCLA alumnus Mike Medavoy and veteran film producer William Horberg.
Kirk Kerkorian, a U.S. 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. Pope Francis considered it the first genocide of the 20th century.