IN THE NAME OF THE FAMILY
On December 10, 2007, a 16-year-old Toronto schoolgirl, Aqsa, was strangled to death; her father and brother are charged with murder. Three weeks later, teenage sisters were shot to death in Dallas; their father is wanted for murder. Six months later, a 19-year-old college student was stabbed by her brother; he was convicted and is now in jail in New York. Friends and family of the murdered girls paint a chilling portrait of the forces that led to their deaths, and Toronto schoolgirls talk about their lives of constant fear.
While Muslim women organize to help girls at risk and the imam at a Toronto mosque teaches that violence has no basis in Islam, some men continue to justify these crimes through patriarchal beliefs about family honour. Award-winning director Shelley Saywell brings her consummate documentary skills and passion for human rights to challenge the traditions that lie behind the heartbreaking tragedies committed against young girls caught between two cultures in North America.
“In the Name of the Family offers a devastating look at the phenomenon of so-called honour killings. Without sensationalism, the film takes us inside these families and provides a heart-breaking portrayal of girlhood innocence and male cruelty, while unraveling the tricky cultural issues behind the crimes. What’s most chilling is to listen to the men defend their “honour”—the imprisoned brother of the New York girl blaming her for ruining his life.” - MACLEANS.CA
“A haunting documentary …a tender but fierce expose.” - POV
“Saywell’s documentary examines the rise of so-called honour killings in South Asian and Middle Eastern immigrant families as children get caught in the cultural divide between East and West. Careful to avoid religious and cultural stereotypes, it doesn’t delve into the disturbed minds of the killers. It simply tells the heartbreaking stories of these young immigrant girls.” - Eye Weekly
“Compelling …Shelley Saywell’s often-heartbreaking doc explores the often-complex relationship between Muslim fathers and daughters.” - National Post
“Riveting …director, Shelley Saywell, is a gifted filmmaker whose work has been acclaimed around the world. Her specialty is venturing into places where others fear to tread – and she found this particular place right here in Canada.” - Globe & Mail
“Chilling …In the Name of the Family, focuses on a secretive world with its own rules and punishments, which go beyond any country or religion but are based on the belief that a woman’s sexuality is a commodity to be closely controlled by male relatives.” - Toronto Star
WITH HABIBA NOSHEEN | REPORTER, FIELD PRODUCER
Habiba is a Canadian journalist and filmmaker based in New York. Her insight and bravery in tackling honour killings in North America led to her collaboration with Saywell on “In the Name of the Family.” Habiba was associate/field producer on the film, but in many ways was the heart and soul of the production. She was able to convince several women to come forward and bravely share their stories with us, and she also facilitated the interview in Attica with the brother of one of the victims. Habiba’s own work can be followed on NPR, New York Times, PBS and other major American media outlets.