Sellier left Iran, along with her twin sister when she was only 17 years-old, now she runs one of the largest privately funded protection and advocacy organizations in the world.
In an interview today with Homayra Sellier, it was announced that she is in early stage development of a major motion picture that is partially based on her own life’s adventures, that led to the establishment of Innocence en Danger (IID), an international NGO that raises the world’s awareness to the crimes of child sexual abuse and the proliferation of internet based pornography. Sellier originally founded IID in 1999, along with the sponsorship of UNESCO, which is a specialized group under the United Nations that recognizes the importance of the rule of law and basic human rights. Sellier has firmly stood at the helm of IID as it transitioned away from UNESCO to the more flexible and privately controlled Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that now is navigated solely by her.
Sellier was inspired by the idea of the film project after she read the preliminary screenplay written by an undisclosed American journalist. “I have always had the dream to produce a major motion picture that can benefit the children we represent, but could never afford the time,” Sellier explained in an interview from her office in Geneva Switzerland. “My life is totally dedicated to my mission of child safety, as I often put in almost 20 hours of work a day”, says Sellier.
Homayra Sellier certainly is a person of passion, mystery, and striking beauty, but more than that, she is exceptionally brilliant. All of which provides the foundation and backdrop to an action thriller that depicts Sellier as a fictional character, struggling to protect both herself and her twin sister against the dangerous grip of a powerful government official, who controls the complex logistics of human trafficking. While the story is fictional, many of the descriptive aspects of the main character are based on the astonishing life of Sellier.
Sellier, 52, studied marketing and public relations in western Paris at CELSA, one of the most prestigious journalism and communications schools in the world. She speaks four languages fluently (including Farsi), and carries multiple cell phones to her many offices that are located in six countries, including the U.S., France, Switzerland, Germany, UK, and Colombia. “For security reasons, I must carry a phone for each country I visit”, Sellier mentions.
Sellier’s days are not only pressurizing, but dangerous, as she boldly attends back-to-back meetings with victims of some of the most heart wrenching crimes against children imaginable. Sellier keeps a watchful eye on the surroundings around her, as she meets with victims and legal counsel throughout Europe, and confronts massive government agencies. “I must always be careful of my own safety”, Sellier mentions, “the other day we were attacked in Paris, and somehow god protected us. I guess that day was not my time”.
“We must hold our government officials and agencies accountable for what we pay them to do, and what they are established to do,” says Sellier, “my life is for these children, and if I can save just one of them, I just might be able to sleep at night.” Sellier is a fiercly driven, intensely private, no-nonsense woman, who says she has little time for anyone who does not share her own passion. “I will always make time, day or night, for people who have a passion for what I am doing,” says Sellier, “but I have no time to share with those people who could care less.”
In 1976, when she was a young girl, Sellier along with her identical-twin sister, Golareh, escaped the war torn country of Iran, to an “apparent” safe-house in Paris. While learning about the outside world for the first time, Sellier and her sister fell into the clutches of a danger that she had no idea ever existed, the evil of sexual abuse. The intensely close twins, while growing up in the dangerous surrounding of Iran, also developed an unusually strong sense of sibling communication. “All of our lives, we communicated by our own language, and desperately protected each other from the outside world”, says Sellier.
Homayra and Golareh were not only sisters, but monozygotic ("identical") twins, characterized by the exact same speech patterns, mannerisms and elevated levels of intuitive perception for each other. As children, Sellier recalled a time when she desperately gripped her sister’s hand as they were both drowning in the Caspian Sea. “A man swimming by saw us sinking and pulled us to safety”, recalls Sellier.
Later in life, Homayra met and married Patrick Sellier, a wealthy banker, who was related to Charles de Gaulle, and the two lived in Geneva, Switzerland and Paris France, where they raised their children. In a life surrounded by tragedy, much more tragedy was soon to follow in the form of cancer, as she lost her husband in 2009 and the only identity she had ever known, her sister Golareh in 2006.
After meeting a journalist in United States, who is an independent writer and videographer for one of the largest news aggregators in the world, Sellier found time to openly talk about her most intensely personal experiences, and the fascinating mission of Innocence en Danger. The journalist, whose own daughter was also a victim of sexual abuse, immediately began to construct a screenplay entitled “Illegitimate-advantage” that blended many of the true events of Sellier's life, into a rapid-fire, fictional, action thriller that follows the formula for cinematic success.
According to Sellier, the journalist wanted to produce a screen play that was exciting to watch for the larger public; a movie that would include aspects of the dark theme of sexual abuse and human trafficking, but also would not revolt and repel the viewers. The writer wanted to make a movie about a dark subject but not scare the audiance away. “The film does not point fingers at anyone, but rather increases the awareness of crimes of this nature, “says Sillier “we want to produce a main stream film that will be attractive to distribution rights.
Sellier, who bears a remarkable resemblance to the famous actress Angelina Jolie, is in many ways as mysteriously driven. However the life experiences of Homayra, whose birth-name means “fire”, and Golareh, who was named after the “pupil of the eye”, go far beyond the imagination of Hollywood. Sellier says that she views herself as a “soldier”, going to the battle each day as she fights the evil and injustice that is constantly on the trail of the innocent in danger.
The film projected for a premier at the Cannes Film Festival in mid-2015, is currently under design and planning, while Sellier and her U.S. based journalist explore sponsors and funding sources. The drama will play out against some of the most breath taking locations in the world from Berlin to London, and a single actress will play the complex role of both Homeyra and Golareh, who battle to protect each other in different countries at the exact same time.
Unlike other films depicting the industry of human trafficking, Illegitimate-advantage is positioned towards the main stream audiences, and does not project blame towards any governmental process of law, but certainly highlights the existence of huge international problem which operates almost invisibly under the nose of people everywhere. According to Sellier, ”human trafficking is the 2nd highest lucrative criminal activity in the world, surpassing illegal arms dealing.”