Mayor Mohamed, a film by longtime Montclair resident and Seton Hall University Professor Jeffrey Togman, will have its world premiere at the 2021 Brooklyn Film Festival.
“It’s just a great film,” said Brandon Harrison, the Feature Documentary Programmer at the festival. “Certain films just stick out. Mayor Mohamed was one of those films. It’s such an intimate portrait that shows not only a man’s dedication to his community but also the complexities of politics in this country.”
The film follows Mohamed Khairullah, the mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, as he fights the forces of Islamophobia in America and risks his life to bring humanitarian aid into war-torn Syria, his country of origin. When a local politician runs a Trumpian campaign to “make Prospect Park great again,” Mohamed’s political survival, and a particular view of what it means to be American, are on the line.
Togman first met Mr. Khairullah at Congregation Shomrei Emunah, a Jewish synagogue in Montclair. “What struck me most about Mohamed and Prospect Park was how people from so many different walks of life came together through their civic engagement and patriotism. And all the while Mohamed was making these dangerous trips into Syria to try to do anything he could to address perhaps the greatest humanitarian crisis of the 21st century.”
Mayor Khairullah states, “coming to the United States is the best that has ever happened for my future and the future of my family. Having lived in multiple countries I fully understand what it means to strive for a more perfect union, a goal our nation is still aiming for. I wish to live long enough to see my family members in Syria experiencing a similar democratic experience to the one I am living in the United States.”
There are two ways to watch Mayor Mohamed at the Brooklyn Film Festival. There will be an in-person screening on June 11th at 7 pm at Windmill Studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The festival is also being staged online June 4 – 13 via the festival website: www.brooklynfilmfestival.org