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Chicagoans Steve Sarowitz, Bob Hercules behind film on Baha’i prophet ‘the Bab’

Steve Sarowitz outside the Baha'i Temple in Wilmette. | Michelle Kanaar / Sun-Times

One of the founders of the Baha’i faith — the 19th century “prophet-messenger” known as “the Bab” — is the focus of a soon-to-be-released documentary “The Gate,” which has deep ties to the Chicago area.

The Baha’i tradition teaches that, over the ages, God “sent a succession of Divine Messengers” — including Moses, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad — “to educate and guide humanity” and promote love.

The notion is that there is “one faith being revealed over the entire history of humanity.”

The Bab is considered by the Baha’i faithful to be one of the more recent messengers. The story of his life — which ended with his execution by firing squad in what’s now Iran — is the subject of the “The Gate,” being released later this spring.

Executive producer Steve Sarowitz and director Bob Hercules are both based in Chicago.

Sarowitz is the multimillionaire founder of Paylocity, a member of the Baha’i faith and the driving force behind the production.

Sarowitz says the documentary was three years in the making, at a cost of more than $3 million. He says it’s about an hour long, and a TV debut is expected soon.

Estimates are that there are at least 5 million adherents of the Baha’i faith worldwide, many in the Middle East. Wilmette is home to the only Baha’i temple in the United States.

"The Gate" is due out later this spring.

“The Gate” is due out later this spring.

Religion Roundup is also featured on WBBM Newsradio (780 AM and 105.9 FM) on Sundays at 6:22 a.m., 9:22 a.m. and 9:22 p.m. For more religion coverage, check out suntimes.com. Email tips and comments to Robert Herguth at rherguth@suntimes.com.