‘This story needs to be told’

Documentary focused on former students' murder to premiere Sunday in Dallas

Andrea Duncan

Filmmakers Neena Nejad (right) and Xoel Pamos talked to LHS students on Friday, Sept. 5, about filmmaking and their recent work on "The Price Of Honor."

The Price Of Honor filmmakers

By Andrea Duncan, Lewisville High School, Lewisville, Texas

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After six years, loved ones of sisters and former LHS students Sarah and Amina Said have helped in the telling of a story in search of justice.

Sarah and Amina were murdered in the back of a taxi cab in Irving on Jan. 1, 2008. Their father, Yaser, was quickly suspected for the crime and has never been caught. Six years later, a documentary titled “The Price Of Honor,” featuring the girls’ story, will be released on Sunday in Dallas.

The premiere will be at the Lakewood Theater and will begin at 6 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 and a question-and-answer session will follow at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased here.

When filmmakers Neena Nejad and Xoel Pamos created their production company, they wanted to make a film that dealt with human rights and global issues. Pamos is an active spokesperson against domestic violence, and Nejad is an advocate for women’s rights.

On Friday, Sept. 5, Nejad and Pamos talked to LHS students about movie production and their recent work.

While Nejad and Pamos were deciding on their first project, they found an article about a murder of a young woman labeled an honor killing in New York. They couldn’t believe that honor killings were happening in the United States, so they decided on a project.

The documentary originally began with the focus on a variety of honor killings until Nejad and Pamos found out more about Sarah and Amina.

We hope that the more we put his face out there, the bigger chance someone might come forward with some information.”

— filmmaker Neena Nejad

An “honor killing” is when a person is murdered by a relative for “dishonoring” the family. The murderer commits the crime in an attempt to regain the family “honor.” The victims are most commonly girls. It is believed that Yaser disapproved of his daughters’ lifestyle in contrast to his Muslim beliefs.

“The more we got into this case [Sarah and Amina] the more we realized this story needs to be told and it was the only story where the father hadn’t been caught,” Nejad said. “So midway in our research we decided to focus the whole film on Sarah and Amina.”

Yaser is on the FBI’s most-wanted list with multiple charges of capital murder. His whereabouts are currently unknown, but some theorize he may still be living in the US.

“We hope that the more we put his face out there, the bigger chance someone might come forward with some information,” Nejad said.

After the premiere of “The Price of Honor” in Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, Pamos hopes the film will be just the beginning of something better for Amina and Sarah.

“They will never be back with us, but we can help to bring justice to them,” Pamos said. “We hope that after people watch the film, they feel motivated and energized to join the movement to bring justice to the girls.”

Following the premiere tour, the film will hit the main festivals in the country and also internationally. The film should be on sale via DVD and streaming sometime next year.

They will never be back with us, but we can help to bring justice to them.”

— filmmaker Xoel Pamos

Student Council adviser Allison Stamey knew Sarah and Amina when they were in high school. Stamey had Amina in Web design, and when Sarah finished with tennis first period she would join Amina and work in Stamey’s class.

Stamey has a role in the film, and just like the filmmakers, she hopes something more will come from the film.

“[My hope is] that this will go around the country and not just stop at Dallas, so that other people that are suffering the same way Amina and Sarah did will know and learn how to reach out for help,” Stamey said.