Surrey Deli Owner Clashes with 'Sandwich Nazi' Documentary Filmmakers

Surrey Deli Owner Clashes with 'Sandwich Nazi' Documentary Filmmakers
Salim Kahil is a legendary deli owner in Surrey, BC whose best known for the explicit, antagonistic way he approaches the clientele at his restaurant La Charcuterie. His antics are the subject of a new documentary film called The Sandwich Nazi, but now he's trying to block it from being released.

As the Georgia Straight reports, Kahil is angry with director-producer Lewis Bennett, who reportedly made a verbal agreement that the film would be released for free as a tool to help people with their problems, with no profits to be made from it.

In addition to Kahil's R-rated customer service, the film also includes candid discussions with the sandwich-maker about being sexually abused, working as a male escort, his own sexuality and his outreach to Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

After the film screened at SXSW earlier this year, Kahil was angry to see that Netflix and HBO were both interested in distributing it. "I said to them many times, 'I'm not for sale. My volunteers are not for sale. My charity work is not for sale'," he told the Straight. "I really don't want my family to be in [it] if it's going to be a film for sale because I don't think my family's for sale either."

Bennett disagrees, however, telling the paper, "We always told him that yeah, we always wanted the film to be on TV or Netflix or iTunes, all those kinds of places."

Producer Calum MacLeod added, "We've been clear from the beginning that we want for this film what every filmmaker wants for their film, which is for as many people to see it as possible."

Further, MacLeod said the notion of a verbal agreement between the parties simply isn't true. "To suggest we had a gentleman's agreement not to raise money — my wife would not let me do that.... I can't spend our family money on this stuff unless there's a possibility of at least recouping the cost."

The conflict further escalated when Kahil was banned from a screening at Vancouver's Rio Theatre on September 27 as part of the Vancouver International Film Festival. Kahil was reportedly threatening to "disrupt" the screening and had encouraged his friends to record the film on their phones.

The Sandwich Nazi is set to screen at the Rio again on October 3 and will be entered into other film festivals.

Kahil has also been actively commenting on the Straight's article about this. Read more about it here.