Globe and Mail

“An intimately revealing portrait”

The Toronto Star

“A political and emotional diary charting the many exiles in the life of Dorfman”

International Herald Tribune

“A life changing experience…A profile in courage colored with the anxiety of a human rights activist faced with painful moral choices”

New York Times

A film by Peter Raymont | Canada | English/French/Spanish | 90′ / 52′ / 48′


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 a world-renowned writer. Ariel Dorfmanis the author of numerous works of fiction in Spanish and English including: Death and the Maiden, In Case of Fire in a Foreign Land and Other Septembers. He has been translated into over 40 languages and his plays performed in more than 100 countries.

Yet, despite all his artistic accomplishments, it is for his political life that Dorfman is best known. Born in Argentina, he was raised in New York until his family was exiled during theRed Scare of the 1950s. Years later, Dorfman became Cultural Advisor to Chile’s socialist government.

When the government was toppled by a military coup on September 11, 1973, Ariel Dorfman was among the few survivors of President Allende’s inner circle. Years later, he was told that he was spared because “someone had to live to tell the story.”

Taking its lead from Dorfman’s best-selling memoir, A Promise to the Dead was filmed in the USA, Argentina and Chile in late 2006, coinciding with the death of former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet.

Produced by White Pine Pictures in Association with Bravo!, a division of CTVglobemedia Inc., ITVS International. With funding made possible by The  Ford Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The  John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Geographic Channel International, HUMAN, The Netherlands, BBC Four, SVT – Sweden, SBS-TV Australia, The Biography Channel, The Saskatchewan Communications Network, BC Knowledge Network, Télé-Québec.This film was supported by a grant from the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund, with the participation of the Canadian Television Fund, created by the Government of Canada and the Canadian cable industry CTF: Licence Fee Program, The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, Ontario Film and Television Tax Credits
International Sales Agent: Films Transit International