JOSHUA SEFTEL

JOSHUA
SEFTEL

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about the jury

Joshua Seftel is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker known for directing the Emmy-winning landmark series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the feature film War, Inc. starring John Cusack, Marisa Tomei and Ben Kingsley, and his regular appearances on CBS Sunday Morning where he interviews his 86-year-old mother. His most recent film, Stranger at the Gate, Executive Produced by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai and nominated for a 2023 Academy Award®, is part of 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. He founded the Brooklyn-based production company, Smartypants, in 2014 to create impactful independent films and to bring that same kind of storytelling to work for brand clients, including Delta Air LinesAdidas, and Cadillac.

Seftel received his first Emmy nomination at age 22 with his documentary Lost and Found 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 behind-the-scenes film about Annie’s Broadway revival It’s the Hard Knock Life (PBS), and the artist portrait The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano (Tribeca Film Festival) which won the IDA Documentary Award and became the most viewed New York Times Op-Doc of the year. He is also a contributor to the Peabody Award-winning podcast This American Life and to The New York Times.