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Oscar-nominated short film to be shown at Jewish museum in Philadelphia

Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel-prize-winning activist for women’s rights, served as executive producer on the film.

The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. Credit: Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons.
The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. Credit: Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons.
A poster for the Academy Award-winning film “Stranger at the Gate,” directed by Joshua Seftel. Credit: Film Affinity via Wikimedia Commons.

The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia will screen a local premiere of the Academy Award-nominated short film “Stranger at the Gate” at 6 p.m. on Thursday evening. 

The story, based on actual events, depicts Richard (“Mac”) McKinney, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, who returns home to Indiana and develops a plan to bomb a mosque. An encounter with Bibi Bahrami, an Afghan woman refugee, changes his fate.

Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel-prize-winning activist for women’s rights, served as executive producer on the film.

As part of the event, WHYY-FM radio host Marty Moss-Coane will interview director Joshua Seftel via Zoom. The two are to discuss the movie’s primary themes, including extremism, xenophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry.

Josh Perelman, the museum’s chief curator and director of exhibitions and interpretation, noted that security will be in place due to the war between Israel and Hamas after terror attacks on Oct. 7 that left more than 1,200 Israelis dead, thousands wounded and as many as 150 hostages taken.

When asked about the timing of the film, and sensitivities in a city with both significant Jewish and Muslim populations, Perelman responded that “it’s important for people to gather in different ways. Everyone needs their own way of processing. And the film is an uplifting story.”

Seftel has explored these themes previously in his “Secret Life of Muslims,” which earned Emmy and Peabody nominations. His credits also include directing the 2008 feature film “War, Inc.”; and the 1992 Emmy-nominated short documentary “Lost and Found,” which chronicles Romania’s adopted war orphans.  

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