October 28, 2017 - 12:47 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Despite controversy over mall officials initially refusing to display an advertisement for the Armenian Genocide documentary “Architects of Denial”, local officials and others joined one of the film’s producers for a private screening at the Americana at Brand this week, Glendale News-Press reports.
The documentary uses expert testimony and survivor experiences to explore genocides throughout history and how continued denial of the Armenian Genocide contributes to future atrocities.
President Donald Trump and past U.S. presidents have failed to recognize the massacre — where roughly 1.5 million Armenians were killed more than a century ago by Ottoman Turks — as a genocide.
The screening was organized by the Glendale chapter of the Armenian National Committee of America, which in August, had a proposed billboard ad for the film rejected by Caruso management for being “too political,” based on subject matter.
After a backlash, Americana officials reversed their decision.
The film is produced by actor Dean Cain and television host Montel Williams, the latter of whom spoke before the film started to the more than 200 audience members packed into a screening room at Pacific Theatres.
Williams said he was “embarrassed” to admit that when he was asked to participate in the project, he had not heard of the Armenian Genocide, and the film should be used as an education tool in schools.
“The Armenian Genocide and its denial for over 100 years is, I think, solely the reason why the world ignores the other genocides that have continued to take place, [and] those that are taking place right now that we hear about and read about and we hear whispers of because the world’s not talking,” he said.
Williams said all the money generated from movie sales will be donated to “Armenian causes” such as the Armenian National Committee of America.
Also in attendance were members of the Glendale City Council, state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) and state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge).
Portantino, who joined the effort early to get the Americana to reverse its original rejection of the film’s advertisement, spoke briefly after the screening.
“It is tragic that we don’t have recognition when it’s appropriate,” Portantino said, according to a statement. “The role of the activist is to make government officials do better … so let’s continue to fight for recognition [of the Armenian Genocide] and to do the right thing.”