Joshua Seftel is a 2017 Emmy nominee and Peabody Awards Finalist for creating the landmark Vox series Secret Life of Muslims. The timely and poignant set of documentaries has had more than 35 million views since Election Day. His 2016 award-winning documentary The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano, produced with Morgan Spurlock and Steve Tisch, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was the most viewed New York Times Op-Docs of the year.
Seftel began his career in documentaries at age 22 with his Emmy-nominated Lost and Found about Romania’s orphaned children. The film led to the American adoption of thousands of Romanian orphans. He followed this with several films including the political campaign film Taking on the Kennedys, selected by Time Magazine as one of the “ten best of the year”; the underdog sports film The Home Team which premiered at SXSW, and the behind-the-scenes film about Annie’s Broadway revival It’s the Hard Knock Life which the New York Times called “delightful.”
Seftel's first foray into narrative film, Breaking the Mold, gained cult status on the film festival circuit and caught the attention of filmmaker Alexander Payne, who championed him as a director. Seftel went on to direct the political satire War, Inc. starring John Cusack, Marisa Tomei, Hilary Duff, Joan Cusack, and Ben Kingsley which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Seftel also directed the breakthrough Emmy-winning series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and is a contributor to Ira Glass' This American Life, CBS Sunday Morning, and The New York Times. In his free time, he co-hosts a comedic web series with his 80-year-old mother about which The New York Times wrote, "the word 'droll' seems as if it were invented for these two." Seftel lives in Brooklyn with his wife, filmmaker Erika Frankel, and their daughter Lillian.
SELECTED AWARDS AND HONORS
Emmy Award, Nominee, 2017, 2010, 2009, 2005, 1993.
MPAC Media Awards, Honoree (with Sir Bob Geldof and Lena Khan), 2018.
P.T. Barnum Awards, Honoree, Tufts University, 2018.
International Documentary Association, Winner (with The New York Times Op-Docs), 2017.
American International Broadcast Award, Winner, 2017.
Fearless Ally Award, Nominee, El-Hibri Foundation, 2017.
Peabody Awards, Finalist, 2016.
South by Southwest Film Festival, Grand Jury Award Nominee, 2016, 2014.
Goldziher Prize for Excellent Journalism covering American Muslims, 2016.
Full Frame, Best Short Documentary Nominee, 2016.
Tribeca Film Festival, Jury Award Nominee, 2015, 2008.
Sheffield Doc/Fest: Best Short Documentary Nominee, 2015.
Kavli Science Journalism Award, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2014, 2011.
James Beard Awards, Nominee, 2012.
Daytime Emmy Nomination, Outstanding Children's Series, 2011, 2010, 2009
Emmy Award, Winner, 2005, 2004.
Environmental Media Awards, Winner, 2004.
National Arts Journalism Program Fellow, Columbia University, 2002-2003.
The Best of 1996, Time Magazine, 1996.