Joshua Seftel
Joshua Seftel

Joshua Seftel is a 2017 Emmy nominee and Peabody Awards Finalist for creating the landmark series Secret Life of Muslims. The timely and poignant documentaries which combat Islamophobia have more than 56 million views to date. Seftel also directed the breakthrough Emmy-winning series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the feature film War, Inc. starring John Cusack, Marisa Tomei and Ben Kingsley, and is a contributor to Ira Glass' This American Life, CBS Sunday Morning, and The New York Times.

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. He followed this with several more documentary 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.” 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'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. which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and played in theaters across the globe.

In his free time, Seftel co-hosts a comedic web series with his 82-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.


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.