DIRECTOR OF STRANGER AT THE GATE
Joshua Seftel is an Oscar®-nominated and Emmy-winning film director committed to telling underdog stories with strong social impact. His most recent film, STRANGER AT THE GATE, a 2023 Academy Award®-Nominee, Executive Produced by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, is a part of Seftel’s Emmy and Peabody-nominated Secret Life of Muslims project (SXSW), a series that has been viewed more than 70 million times. For the past several years, Seftel has focused on work that combats hatred, Islamophobia and shatters stereotypes, an effort which stems from the antisemitism he faced as a child.
Seftel is also known for directing the Emmy®-winning landmark series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the anti-war movie War, Inc. starring John Cusack, Marisa Tomei and Ben Kingsley, and his regular appearances on CBS Sunday Morning where he interviews his 87-year-old mother about current events and social issues. The New York Times wrote of their conversations, "the word 'droll' seems as if it were invented for these two." He is also a contributor to the Peabody Award-winning podcast This American Life and to The New York Times.
Seftel received his first Emmy nomination at age 22 with his documentary Lost and Found (PBS), about Romania’s orphaned children. The film led to the American adoption of thousands of Romanian orphans. Some of his other award-winning films include the political campaign documentary Taking on the Kennedys (POV), the underdog sports film The Home Team (SXSW), the document of the first days of an 11-year old Pakistani refugee in New York City, Zain’s Summer (National Geographic), the behind-the-scenes film about Annie’s Broadway revival It’s the Hard Knock Life (PBS), and the portrait of a photographer obsessed with death, The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano (Tribeca Film Festival, New York Times Op-Docs) which won the IDA Documentary Award and became the most viewed Op-Doc of the year.
In the summer of 2021, Seftel was invited to direct the music video marking the reopening of New York City featuring Stephen Colbert, Idina Menzel, Sara Bareilles, Suzanne Vega, and others singing Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind. The film launched Clive Davis’ Homecoming Concert in Central Park, was shown at Mets home games and in New York City taxi cabs across the city, and quickly became a social media hit. It has been seen tens of millions of times.
Seftel lives in Brooklyn with his wife, filmmaker Erika Frankel, and their two young daughters.