Dean Cain rose to stardom in the 1990s by playing the ultimate superhero in the ABC series “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.” While he has maintained a steady career in the decades since by starring in an endless assortment of TV movies and guest-starring roles on series, he has also become a real-life hero by using his notoriety to bring awareness to human rights campaigns around the globe.
Cain serves as an executive producer on the new documentary “Architects of Denial: Genocide Denied Is Genocide Continued,” which focuses on the Armenian Genocide and explores how similar atrocities still afflict the Armenians and many other populations including in Sudan. Teaming with veteran talk-show host Montel Williams to help draw funding and attention to the project, he appeared with Williams and an array of stars and politicians, including US Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, at the film’s red carpet premiere on Oct. 3 in Hollywood, prior to its opening Friday. The film was set to open at the Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena but at the last minute the theater was changed to Pacific Glendale 18 at Americana At Brand.
“Neither Montel nor I are Armenian, but I was a history major at Princeton, and I’ve traveled the world and been to lots of places with Montel doing charity work for children and other charities,” says Cain, speaking by phone from Washington, DC, where he was lobbying congresspersons to endorse House Resolution 220, authored by Schiff, which would formally recognize the Armenian Genocide and inspire faster labeling of other genocidal actions.
“We don’t agree politically on everything, but one thing we agree on is that genocide is wrong. This very first genocide of the 20th century has been swept under the rug, hidden and whitewashed by governments because no one wants to take responsibility,” Cain said. “If you don’t acknowledge it, you allow it to continue, and the media ignores Turkey and Azerbaijan now with how they treat Armenia, plus there are atrocities in Sudan and persecution of Christians elsewhere.”
“Architects” traces the turbulent modern history of the Armenian people, from their decimation by Ottoman Turks at the onset of World War I until the present, when they are threatened by Turkey as well as its ally, Azerbaijan. It chronicles the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and includes interviews with its survivors, who detail the horrors they or their family members had experienced, and experts, who graphically illustrate the real connection between its historical denial with present-day mass exterminations in conflict zones around the world.
While Cain and Williams don’t appear in “Architects,” they are in the midst of producing and appearing in another documentary in which they have conducted on-camera interviews with Syrian Armenians, the Armenian president, foreign minister and prime minister. The focus of that film is to show how the lives of many Armenian families have come full circle from fleeing into Syria nearly 100 years ago, only to flee back home now because of persecution from Muslim extremists in that nation.
“This is the first time anyone has put together one huge statement of how familial relations are affected by genocides and refugee situations around the planet,” says Cain. “[Wikileaks founder] Julian Assange has not given interviews on this subject, and we specifically ask congressmen on camera about their denial that the Armenian Genocide took place, after they’ve taken money from Turkish lobbyists.”
With more than 100 congressional sponsors of House Resolution 220 already lined up, Cain feels optimistic that his efforts will pay off soon with a vote. But he also notes that there will always be another place in need of some heroic help.
“This has gone on throughout history, but modern travel and technology has given us the tools to monitor and stop genocidal actions faster than before,” says Cain. “I’ve spent the last few days educating congressmen on the issue, and they seem receptive. We’ll see if we can get it done.”
“Architects of Denial” opened Friday, Oct. 6, at the Pacific Glendale 18, Americana At Brand, 322 Americana Way, Glendale. For more information, call (818) 551-0566.