In "A Son's Sacrifice," an Interfaith Approach to Filmmaking

August 18, 2006

Source: The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles

On August 18, 2006 The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles reported, " With all of the negative images about Jewish-Muslim clashes in the world, it is nice to see a documentary, directed and produced by a Jew and a Muslim, about a Muslim son taking over his father's slaughterhouse business in Queens, N.Y.

'A Son's Sacrifice,' which will be screened for one week at ArcLight Cinemas as part of DocuWeek's 10th annual International Documentary Showcase, follows the transition of a young Muslim American as he moves from an enervating job in advertising to a more spiritually enriching experience running his father's Old World business.

Though short even by documentary standards at 28 minutes, the film delves deeply into what 24-year-old director Yoni Brook, an NYU film school graduate, calls 'primal rituals,' and what his 22-year-old producer, Musa Syeed, refers to as a 'story that embodies modernity vs. tradition'... But the filmmakers, who received financing from several foundations, including the Harvard Pluralism Project and the Independent Television Service, a nonprofit affiliated with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, do not pass judgment on this old-fashioned profession, which, according to Brook, is experiencing a 'renaissance.' He said there are now 80 or so ethnic slaughterhouses in the five boroughs of New York, including the halal poultry store depicted in the movie.

The film, which will air next year on PBS, grew out of Brook's senior thesis at NYU. Marco Williams, his professor and the film's executive producer, teamed him up with Syeed, and they began leafing through the Yellow Pages, searching for slaughterhouses on the weekends. Syeed said that it took time to 'build trust,' because some Muslim Americans are a bit wary of the camera and 'feel that they are marginalized' by American media."