(San Francisco, CA)—A SON’S SACRIFICE follows the journey of Imran, a young man who confronts his Muslim roots at a halal slaughterhouse in Queens, New York. Half Bangladeshi and half Puerto Rican, Imran is a typical New Yorker, straddling life across multiple cultures in the world’s most multicultural city. Like many first-generation children of immigrants, Imran was born to a hardworking father who hoped his son would surpass him to become a successful American. Caught between preserving his Bangladeshi heritage and becoming the all-American man his father envisioned, Imran decides to take over his father’s business, an old-fashioned slaughterhouse that caters to the halal dietary needs of its Muslim clientele. Directed by Yoni Brook, A SON’S SACRIFICE will air nationally on the Emmy Award–winning PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by Terrence Howard, on Tuesday, January 22, 2008, at 10pm (check local listings); also in the evening’s lineup is the half-hour film AMERICAN MADE, which premiered on Independent Lens in 2006.
As we see in A SON’S SACRIFICE, during the holiday of Eid-al-Adha (also known as Qurbani) Muslims are commanded to slaughter a goat, lamb or bull to honor the Koranic story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for God. The event draws hundreds of Muslim families to the Uddin’s slaughterhouse in Queens. The celebration holds symbolic meaning for the fathers who pass this tradition on to their sons; it also requires grueling work. As Imran delves into the complex preparations for the Qurbani holiday, we see him becoming immersed in the life of the slaughterhouse, a place that is both intrinsic to him as a Muslim and foreign to him as an American. On the holiest day of the year, Imran must lead a sacrifice that will define him as a Muslim, as an American and as a son. Rounding out the evening’s programming is writer/director Sharat Raju’s AMERICAN MADE, a poignant, sometimes funny, always real portrait of the age-old conflict between immigrant parents and their Americanized children. We meet the Singh family, who are taking the great American family road trip to the Grand Canyon. Against the wishes of his wife, the turban-clad Sikh father has decided to opt out of the overcrowded highways for the pleasures of a scenic route. When their car breaks down, the family is forced to rethink the wisdom of their father’s decision.
To learn more about the film and the issues, visit the companion website for A SON’S SACRIFICE at Independent Lens online. Get detailed information on the film watch preview clips, read an interview with the filmmaker and explore the subject in depth with links and resources. The site also features a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions. A SON’S SACRIFICE companion website launches December 26, 2007, at pbs.org/independentlens/sonssacrifice/
About the Filmmakers
A SON’S SACRIFICE director Yoni Brook has worked as a photojournalist for newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Seattle Times, The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal, Fortune and Newsweek. He has also produced essays for The New York Times on topics ranging from Iceland’s wintertime culture to Florida’s hurricanes. He has worked as a photographer in the White House Photo Office and as a cinematographer on numerous films and television programs. Brook’s work from inside the World Trade Center site on 9/11 received photojournalism’s highest honors in the Pictures of the Year International and the Best of Photojournalism competitions. In 2002, he was named College Photographer of the Year by the Missouri School of Journalism. He was the youngest photographer ever to be selected as one of Photo District News’s prestigious “PDN’s 30” emerging photographers. Brook grew up in Washington, D.C., and graduated with honors from New York University, with a B.F.A. in film and television. He is the recipient of the Marty Forscher Fellowship for Humanistic Photography from the Parsons School of Design.
A SON’S SACRIFICE producer Musa Syeed is a 2005 Fulbright Fellow producing experimental films related to identity in the Muslim world. His work, which has taken him from the deserts of Egypt to the mountains of Kashmir, earned him the honor of being named a finalist for the George A. Heinemann Film Production Award. As a writer, he produced original theatrical work for the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and serves as a film critic for Islamica magazine. Syeed has worked as an educator in schools, community centers and prisons. He focuses on interfaith education and serves as an advisor for film and television companies, including Thirteen/WNET, the PBS affiliate in New York City. He is an alumnus of New York University, where he focused on Middle Eastern and Islamic studies, and of Tisch School of the Art’s film and television departments.
A SON’S SACRIFICE executive producer Marco Williams is an award-winning documentary and fiction film director. For more than 25 years he has produced films confronting issues of race, ethnicity and family relationships. His films include I Sit Where I Want: The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education (2004), MLK Boulevard: The Concrete Dream (2003), Two Towns of Jasper (2002), Making Peace; Rebuilding Our Communities (1995), The Pursuit of Happiness: With Arianna Huffington (1994), Without a Pass (1992), In Search of Our Fathers (1991) and From Harlem to Harvard (1982). His most recent film, BANISHED, premieres on Independent Lens on February 12, 2008.
AMERICAN MADE writer/director Sharat Raju earned an M.F.A. in directing from the American Film Institute. AMERICAN MADE, his thesis film, earned both of AFI’s two top honors in directing and went on to screen at nearly 40 festivals around the world, garnering 17 international awards in the process.
Among the accolades are the Tribeca Film Festival Student Visionary Award, the Angelus Award Grand Prize, Best Short Film at San Diego Film Festival, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and Sciences (Los Angeles) Excellence in Short Filmmaking Award. In September 2004, Raju appeared in Esquire magazine as one of 20 young film school graduates to watch. Prior to film school, he worked for acclaimed casting director Mali Finn on numerous feature films, including 8 Mile, The Matrix Revolutions and The Matrix Reloaded. He is currently directing and producing the feature documentary Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath, a chronicle of hate crimes in the United States since 9/11.
About Independent Lens
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing Tuesday nights at 10pm on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Independent Lens features unforgettable stories about a unique individual, community or moment in history. Further information about the series is available at pbs.org/independentlens. The series producer is Lois Vossen.
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