“Stranger at the Gate” - Shortlisted Doc Short Film - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Friday, January 13, 2023

“Stranger at the Gate” - Shortlisted Doc Short Film


Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai Boards Oscar-Shortlisted Documentary Short Film “Stranger at the Gate” As Executive Producer
Award-winning, critically-acclaimed film, about a planned hate crime that takes a stunning turn, now streaming free from The New Yorker on newyorker.com and YouTube

“A riveting documentary short.”

– John Blake, CNN

“A remarkable story of redemption. . . . An Oscar contender.”

– Matthew Carey, Deadline Hollywood

“One of the best films of the year no matter the length . . . “

– Joey Moser, Awards Daily

“If there exists a single film this year with the potential to eradicate hate . . . 

it might well be Stranger at the Gate.”

– J. Paul Johnson, Film Obsessive

"A very necessary message.”

– Janet Maslin

“One of the very best films I’ve seen this year.

A front-runner for the Oscar. It’s magnificent.”

– Steve Kopian, Unseen Films

“When hate crimes are an everyday occurrence, 

this is a testament to our shared humanity.”

– Claire Baiz, Bright Lights Film Journal

Nobel Peace Prize laureate and education activist Malala Yousafzai has boarded the Oscar-shortlisted documentary short film “Stranger at the Gate” as executive producer. A prize winner at the 2022 Tribeca Festival, “Stranger at the Gate” is distributed by The New Yorker as part of the magazine’s award-winning New Yorker Documentary series.

“This film is a powerful true story of forgiveness and redemption,” said Malala Yousafzai. “I am honored to support the filmmakers and everyone in Muncie who shared their incredible stories. I hope the film challenges every viewer to question their assumptions and show kindness to everyone they meet.”

Praised by film critics and considered a leading awards contender, “Stranger at the Gate” tells the true story of the U.S. Marine Richard (Mac) McKinney. Suffering from P.T.S.D., McKinney decides to bomb the mosque in his home town of Muncie, Indiana. When he arrives at the mosque to gather more information for his plan, the congregants, including Afghan refugees and an African American convert, welcome him, get to know him, and show him deep love and kindness. Within weeks, the story takes a stunning turn. Instead of committing an act of violence, McKinney converts to Islam and becomes president of the mosque.

“At this time of division and hate, the story at the heart of ‘Stranger at the Gate’ gives me hope,” the film’s director, Joshua Seftel, said. “The heroes in the film have inspired me to believe that love really can conquer hate.”

“Stranger at the Gate” is the newest film in Seftel’s decade-long effort to combat Islamophobia and shatter stereotypes: “Secret Life of Muslims,” a set of shorts nominated for Emmy, Peabody, and IDA Documentary Awards. Seftel's deep commitment to the mission of his project stems from his having experienced antisemitism as a child. “When I began to notice the level of Islamophobia in the U.S., I thought, maybe I can do something as a filmmaker to give a more accurate depiction of American Muslims.”

“Stranger at the Gate” was nominated for Best Documentary Short for the 2022 Critics Choice Documentary Awards. It won Best Documentary Short (Jury Award) at Indy Shorts International Film Festival 2022, the Special Jury Mention at the 2022 Tribeca Festival, Best Documentary Short at Woods Hole Film Festival 2022, the Indiana Spotlight Award at Indy Shorts International Film Festival 2022, and the Social Impact Award at HollyShorts International Film Festival 2022.

“Stranger at the Gate” is now streaming free for audiences worldwide at newyorker.com and on The New Yorker’s YouTube channel.

Malala Yousafzai began her activism at age 11 when she anonymously blogged about life under the Taliban in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, particularly the ban on girls’ education. She soon began advocating publicly, giving speeches and interviews, and attracting international media attention and awards.

At age 15, she was shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out. After many months of surgery and rehabilitation in the United Kingdom, she founded the Malala Fund with her father Ziauddin. A year later, Malala received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her work for education and equality.

Malala graduated from Oxford University in 2020 with a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. She is the best-selling author of three books and president of Extracurricular Productions. “Stranger at the Gate” is the latest film in Joshua Seftel’s Emmy- and Peabody-nominated “Secret Life of Muslims” project (SXSW), which combats Islamophobia with filmmaking. Seftel, who experienced antisemitism as a child, has been committed to working on this subject matter for the past seven years. At age twenty-two, Seftel made his first film, the Emmy-nominated “Lost and Found” (PBS), which exposed the conditions of Romania's orphaned and abandoned children and spurred the American adoption of thousands of children. His other award-winning films include “Taking on the Kennedys” (POV), “Ennis’ Gift” (HBO), “The Home Team” (SXSW), “The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano” (NYT Op-Docs, Tribeca), and the anti-war movie “War, Inc.” (Tribeca), starring John Cusack, Marisa Tomei, and Ben Kingsley. He is also a contributor to the Peabody Award-winning podcast “This American Life” and a commentator on CBS's “Sunday Morning,” where he regularly interviews his eighty-five-year-old mother.





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