El-Yateem Documentary Screening in Bay Ridge

The official movie poster for “FATHER K.” (Photo courtesy of 1001 Media via Brooklyn Reporter)

Rev. Khader El-Yateem may have lost the Democratic primary for the District 43 City Council seat (Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach) last year but the campaign left a lasting impression on the district’s youth, especially in Bay Ridge’s Arab-American community. His run and its aftermath are the subject of a new documentary showing this weekend in the neighborhood.

The grassroots movement that grew out of El-Yateem’s campaign served as the motivation for director Judd Ehrlich to proceed with his documentary on the former pastor of the Salam Arabic Lutheran Church, reports Paula Katinas in a story that appeared in Brooklyn Reporter. On Dec. 9 “FATHER K” will be screened at the Alpine Cinema, followed by a Q&A session with Ehrlich, producer Aidan Tumas and El-Yateem himself, who will be visiting from Florida where he now lives and works as the director of ministries for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

Had he won, El-Yateem would have made history by becoming the first Palestinian-American to be elected to the New York City Council. His foray into politics galvanized young people, particularly Arab-Americans in Bay Ridge, many of whom have remained active politically.

“Father K is somebody who represents an alternative way of framing difference to find common ground. We need more people like him right now in our politics, and in our public discourse,” Ehrlich said in a statement.

Before he left in late May for Florida, El-Yateem started the Yalla (“let’s go” in Arabic) Brooklyn political club to increase civic engagement and empowerment in the Arab community. Ehrlich describes how this news changed the direction of the film. Go to Brooklyn Reporter to read his comments, along with more on El-Yateem’s background and the awards “FATHER K” has already picked up across the country.

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