EXCLUSIVE: Abramorama and Gathr Films have acquired North American theatrical rights to the Joe Berlinger documentary Intent to Destroy, a film-within-a film that centers on the Armenian genocide of 1915 and was a critical favorite at this year’s Tribeca and Hot Docs film festivals. Abramorama will release the film theatrically on Nov. 10 in New York and Los Angeles followed by select cities nationwide. Gathr Films will then expand the release with one-night-only event screenings through its crowd-sourced theatrical distribution platform Theatrical On Demand.
Produced by Survival Pictures (The Promise), RadicalMedia, and Third Eye Motion Picture Company in association with Bloom Project, Berlinger’s 13th feature-length documentary embeds history with the story of director Terry George’s exploration of the genocide through his film The Promise. That includes the subsequent campaign launched by genocide deniers.
“We consider it a privilege to be part of this process and will work long and hard to insure that Intent to Destroy can be seen, and the message can be heard, in all corners of the country,” said Abramorama President Richard Abramowitz.
The film shines a light on the Armenian Genocide — whose witnesses and descendants are still fighting to be officially acknowledged as such by the international community including the United States: 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. Berlinger interviews historians, scholars, and high-profile filmmakers in his exploration of the tangled web of responsibility that has driven a century of denial by the Turkish government and its strategic allies.
“During our robust festival run, starting with Tribeca and Hot Docs and concluding with IDFA in November, I have been truly inspired by the amount of post-screening conversation this film has generated,” said Joe Berlinger. “The Gathr platform has long intrigued me and, combined with Abramorama’s strong ability to build a traditional theatrical audience for specialty films, I can’t think of better partners to continue our goal of expanding this important dialogue in a theatrical setting prior to the film’s digital and television release.”
Berlinger has won two Emmys and has been nominated in the feature doc category for an Oscar. His work includes Brother’s Keeper, the Paradise Lost trilogy, and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster. Last summer, Netflix released Berlinger’s Tony Robbins: I am Not Your Guru, and earlier this year, his four-part docu-series Killing Richard Glossip generated one of Investigation Discovery’s highest ratings ever.
This summer saw the premiere of Berlinger’s latest project, an eight-part documentary series for Spike TV, Gone: The Forgotten Women of Ohio, about the deaths and disappearances of six young women. Later this year on SundanceTV, Berlinger’s four-part true crime docu-series Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders will re-examine the horrific slaughter of the Kansas family chronicled in Truman Capote’s landmark book and Oscar-nominated film In Cold Blood.
The deal for Intent to Destroy was negotiated by Karol Martesko-Fenster, Abramorama CCO and EVP, and Jake Craven, President of Gathr Films, and David Boyle on behalf of the filmmakers.