A Son's Sacrifice

When Imran Uddin takes over his father’s halal slaughterhouse, he leads a ritual that tests his devotion to his family and his faith.

Sons sacrifice 01
Independent Lens, Global Voices
Premiere Date
January 22, 2008
30 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2007 Tribeca Film Festival-Best Documentary Short
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2007 International Documentary Association (IDA)-IDA Award - Short Documentaries
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2007 Silverdocs-Audience Award for Short Film
  • Brook yoni filmmaker bio

    Yoni Brook

    Yoni Brook is a film director and photographer. His first collaboration with Musa Syeed, A Son’s Sacrifice, won Best Documentary Short at the Tribeca Film Festival and Best Documentary Short at the International Documentary Association (IDA) Awards. Brook and Syeed also made The Calling, which is about young religious leaders. Brook has worked as a Show more photojournalist for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Seattle Times, and The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal. He speaks regularly about photojournalism and has instructed students at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Brook is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and was selected to attend the CPB/PBS Producers Academy and the Berlinale Talent Campus Doc Station program. Show less

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    Syeed musa filmmaker bio

    Musa Syeed

    Musa Syeed is an independent filmmaker and writer. He partnered with Yoni Brook to produce A Son’s Sacrifice, which explored a father-son relationship at a halal slaughterhouse in Queens, and co-directed The Calling with Brook. Syeed was a Fulbright Fellow in Cairo, Egypt, where he focused on experimental filmmaking and Muslim identity. As a writer, he Show more has produced original theatrical work for the Children's Museum of Manhattan and is the recipient of the 2008 Sloan Feature Film award for his screenplay on environmental issues in Kashmir. Syeed has worked as an educator in schools, community centers and prisons and was an adjunct professor of cross-cultural documentary production at Williams College in 2008. He has served as an advisor for film and television companies, including Thirteen/WNET New York. Syeed is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in the Middle Eastern and Islamic studies department. Show less

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    Williams marco filmmaker bio

    marco williams

    Marco Williams is an award-winning documentary and nominated fiction film director. His directing credits include Freedom Summer (2006), 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 Show more (1994), Without A Pass (1992), In Search of Our Fathers (1991), and From Harlem To Harvard (1982). His film awards include the Beacon Award, the National Association of Black Journalists First Place Salute to Excellence Award, the George Foster Peabody Award, the Alfred I duPont Silver Baton, the 2002 Pan African Film Festival Outstanding Documentary Award, the Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival Silver Award for Best International Documentary, the 2002 DoubleTake/Full Frame grand prize, the Center For Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award and the Independent Feature Project Third Annual Anthony Radziwill Documentary Achievement Award. Two Towns of Jasper was broadcast on P.OV.In Search of Our Fathers was broadcast on Frontline and featured in the 1992 Sundance Film Festival, the 1993 Berlin International Film Festival, the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 1996 “Black Male Exhibition” and the 1993 Whitney Biennial, among others. Williams received a B.A. from Harvard University in Visual and Environmental Studies, a M.A. from UCLA in Afro-American Studies and a M.F.A. from UCLA’s Producer’s Program. He is the recipient of the Institute of American Cultures Research Grant, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and a Creative Artists Program grant. Show less

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    The Film

    At first glance, Imran Uddin is just another 27-year-old New Yorker struggling to take over his family's business — what's unique is that his father's business is a "pick-your-own" slaughterhouse. The son of an immigrant, Imran must confront his mixed Bangladeshi-Puerto Rican heritage and gain acceptance from his father's conservative Muslim community. On one of Islam's holiest days, Imran must lead a sacrifice that will define him as a Muslim, as an American, and as a son.

    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 families to the Uddins' slaughterhouse in Queens, New York City. The annual celebration holds symbolic meaning for the fathers who pass this tradition on to their sons. The slaughter also means grueling work, and Imran's efforts to manage the slaughterhouse culminate with his preparation for the Qurbani holiday. Yet, even as he toils, Imran, who is the son of a Bangladeshi father and a Puerto Rican mother, is challenged as not being "Muslim enough" by some of the slaughterhouse clients.

    A Son's Sacrifice traces Imran's journey to convince himself, his father and his Muslim brethren that he is a part of their community. Produced by a Muslim-Jewish filmmaking team, the Uddin family's intergenerational story speaks to the shared experience of the children of immigrants.