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A Promise to the Dead


A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman is an exploration of exile, memory, longing and democracy as seen through the experiences of the world-renowned writer, Ariel Dorfman.
Dorfman became Cultural Advisor to the Chief of Staff of Chile’s socialist president Salvador Allende. He was among a handful of Allende’s inner circle to survive. Years later, he was told that his life was spared because “someone had to live to tell the story”.


    A profile in courage colored with the anxiety of a human rights activist faced with painful moral choices…You can read about men and women who stand up to injustice and feel a shuddering admiration. But to absorb a documentary film about such a person is a more intense and potentially life-changing experience.
    Stephen Holden
    A...powerful, at times unforgettable, documentary...The blend of archival news footage with his (Ariel Dorfman) personal, vivid memories is exemplary and beautifully done. It's utterly compelling and definitely worth seeing... it's a must-see because you soon earn that it's about more than Chile. It's about how the world works.
    John Doyle
    An intimately revealing portrait
    Geoff Pevere
    Bright, crisp …. An incredible account …. Raymont does a wonderful job …. you come out informed and moved...
    Monika Bartyzel
  • CTV.CA
    An emotional journey through the volatile landscape of a country torn apart by political ideologies, as seen through the eyes of a man whose own experience was at the heart of Chile's bloody political power struggle in the 1970s
    Andy Johnson
    On the Toronto International Film Festival's red carpet, documentaries about war, politics and repression are breaking through with festival audiences
    Etan Vlessing
    Eloquent, rapt, poetic … There a richness to the images that torpedoes the notion that style and substance need to be exclusive concepts
    Adam Nayman
    Please go see A Promise to the Dead... It will draw you in and the world disappears for the next 90 minutes.
    Julia La Tia

Festival Participation

  • Toronto International Film Festival - 2007
    Chosen as one of the top 10 films of 2007
    Chosen as one of the top 10 films of 2007
  • International Documentary Festival Amsterdam - 2007
  • Possible Worlds Film Festival - 2007
  • Montreal Festival Du Nouveau Cinema - 2007
  • Festival Internacional Del Neuvo Cine Latinoamericano - 2007
  • Dubai International Film Festival - 2007
  • Sheffield Documentary Film Festival - 2007
  • Leipzig Documentary Film Festival - 2007
  • Sao Paulo International Film Festival - 2007
  • Cork International Film Festival - 2007
  • Gemini Awards - 2008
    Gemini Award for Best Social/Political Documentary
  • London Human Rights Watch Film Festival - 2008
  • Planete Doc Review - 2008
  • New York Human Rights Watch Film Festival - 2008
  • Sonoma Valley Film Festival - 2008
  • Instanbul International Film Festival, Turkey - 2008
  • Full Frame Film Festival, USA - 2008
  • Hong Kong International Film Festival, China - 2008
  • Amnesty International Film Festival, Netherlands - 2008
  • Bermuda International Film Festival, Bermuda - 2008
  • Palm Springs Film Festival, USA - 2008
  • Rodos Eco Festival, Greece - 2008
  • Documenta Madrid International Documentary Film Festival, Spain - 2008

Additional Materials

Distribution Company

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