Deadline: Joe Berlinger Risks Turkey’s Ire With Armenian Genocide Doc ‘Intent To Destroy’

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger doesn’t mind taking on some powerful forces.

Written by Matthew Carey, November 10, 2017

He squared off with oil giant Chevron in Crude. In the Paradise Lost trilogy, he went up against prosecutors in the notorious case of the West Memphis Three. With his latest film, Intent to Destroy, he’s running afoul of the government of the Republic of Turkey.

“Bring it on, that’s my attitude,” Berlinger tells Deadline.

Intent to Destroy, which recently qualified for Oscar consideration, recounts the Armenian Genocide that began in 1915 — the massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians that most historians believe was planned and implemented by the Ottoman state in its waning years. The film likewise explores the policy of genocide denial vigorously maintained by modern-day Turkey, which rose from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.

“I was not really interested in just telling the story of the genocide. But I wanted to tell the story about denial,” Berlinger says. “To me only part of the film is about the actual facts of the genocide. The rest of the film is about the aftermath of denial, the mechanism of denial.”

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