Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai is on board as an executive producer on the Oscar-shortlisted documentary short film “Stranger at the Gate.”
The film, which charts the surprising change of heart of a PTSD-stricken ex-US Marine who sets out to bomb a mosque but instead converts to Islam, was an award winner at the 2022 Tribeca Festival.
“This film is a powerful true story of forgiveness and redemption,” Yousafzai said in a statement. “I hope the film will challenge every viewer to question their assumptions and show kindness to those they meet.”
Directed by Joshua Seftel, “Stranger at the Gate” is distributed by The New Yorker as part of the magazine’s New Yorker documentary series.
The film tells the true story of US Marine Richard “Mac” McKinney. Suffering from PTSD, McKinney decided to bomb a mosque in his hometown of Muncie, Ind. When he arrives at the mosque to gather more information for his plan, he is greeted and shown kindness by a crowd of Afghan refugees and an African American convert. Soon, instead of committing acts of violence, McKinney converted to Islam and became the president of the mosque.
“In these times of division and hate, the story of ‘Stranger at the Gate’ gives me hope,” Seftel said. “The heroes of the movie inspired me to believe that love really can conquer hate.”
Yousafzai began her activism by blogging about life in Pakistan under the Taliban and was shot in the head for speaking out. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his work for education and equality. An Oxford University graduate and a self-confessed TV fan, he signed a multi-year programming deal with Apple TV+ in 2021 through Extracurricular Productions, where he is president.
In October 2022, Yousafzai joined “Joyland” as an executive producer. The film tells the story of a young Pakistani man from a patriarchal family who joins an erotic dance theater and falls for an aspiring transgender starlet. Directed by Saeem Sadiq, the film premiered in the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes and was selected by Pakistan as a Best International Feature contender at the Oscars. It remains in Oscar competition, being longlisted in the International Feature category.
Yousafzai has also cast his influence and media attention on other film projects. That includes working with “Don’t Look Up” director Adam McKay on an adaptation of “Disorientation” and boarding an untitled A24-Apple documentary about the matriarchal “Henyo” society of fishermen living on South Korea’s Jeju Island.