Smartypants

Every day, in every corner of the world, heroes set off. Smartypants Pictures is here to celebrate the diversity of these game changers positive contributors big and small to a single overarching story -- one that connects all of us. By approaching movies, documentaries, commercials, radio, and web series with a conscious eye, Smartypants believes that the extraordinary can be found in the everyday, and that meaningful stories are everywhere. Smartypants was founded by director Joshua Seftel (War, Inc., Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, This American Life). Recent Smartypants original productions include The Home Team (SXSW 2014), The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano (Tribeca 2015), and The Secret Life of Muslims (SXSW 2017). Smartypants has also garnered many awards and nominations including Emmys, Peabodys, James Beard Awards, and Webbys. Agency collaborators include Hill Holliday, Leo Burnett, Figliulo & Partners, Digitas and Arnold. Brand clients include Delta Air Lines, Macy's, Country Crock, NPR, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Lenovo, Boeing, and others.

Thank you to everyone who joined us in Boston this week for our special panel, "Journeys From Hate To Love," featuring e...
06/20/2019

Thank you to everyone who joined us in Boston this week for our special panel, "Journeys From Hate To Love," featuring episodes from our series The Secret Life of Muslims!

Special thanks to WBUR 90.9 FM and WBUR CitySpace for hosting us.

Photo Credit: Ken Rivard Photography

Thank you to everyone who joined us in Boston this week for our special panel, "Journeys From Hate To Love." Special thanks to WBUR CitySpace and WBUR 90.9 FM for hosting such a wonderful event!

Photo Credit: Ken Rivard Photography

05/02/2019
adidas Runners | NYC & LA Recoded: "Go Together"

If you want to go far... Go Together!

So proud to announce the online release of our newest documentary! "Go Together" was directed by Joshua Seftel and created in partnership with adidas Runners, and, true to its name, we could not have done it without the incredible team of runners and creators we met along the way. We hope you enjoy!

If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. This is a film about people separated by 3,000 miles, but who share a common thread....

04/30/2019
The Secret Life of Muslims

Our special animated episode of The Secret Life of Muslims is now a Vimeo Staff Pick! Such an honor to be included on this curated list of incredible films.

Our animated short, Secret History of Muslims in America, is a Vimeo Staff Pick! 🏆

Special thanks to Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, AnimaDocs, Maria Stanisheva, Professor Hussein Rashid, comedian extraordinaire Negin Farsad and the film's original home The New York Times Opinion Section.

04/23/2019
My Mom On Movies

Pat is back! Smartypants founder Joshua Seftel and his mom Patricia Seftel returned to the Sarasota Film Festival screen for the fourth year running to share one very important message.

For the fourth year in a row, My Mom on Movies returned to the Sarasota Film Festival. Our short films played at every screening, with reviews, promos, and reminders to turn off your phone or, as Pat says, "Put it on vibrate. Which I don't know how to do. Somebody showed me once but I forgot."

We won a #WilburAward! It's kind of like the Emmy for media working on subjects of religion. This special episode of The...
04/17/2019
Opinion | The Secret History of Muslims in the U.S.

We won a #WilburAward! It's kind of like the Emmy for media working on subjects of religion. This special episode of The Secret Life of Muslims made with our partner Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and co-produced with AnimaDocs, was chosen by the Religion Communicators Council to received this prestigious award. Big thanks to everyone involved, and thanks to The New York Times for putting it out into the world!

Muslims have been here since the time of the earliest explorers and have left their mark on everything from the White House to the Marine Corps uniform.

#throwback to some Smarties celebrating at our launch event for the second season of our original web series, The Secret...
04/02/2019

#throwback to some Smarties celebrating at our launch event for the second season of our original web series, The Secret Life of Muslims. Our season finale is about to drop this week - we can barely believe it.

Catch up on past episodes at our series page -- The Secret Life of Muslims.

Here's a sneak peek at photos from our Season 2 launch of our series The Secret Life of Muslims! Special thanks to Islamic Center at New York University for hosting such a wonderful event!

Photo Credit: Gabi Porter

Couldn't be more excited to see our favorite vegan, Elias, repping kids who don't eat meat in the New York Times! Check ...
09/13/2018
Elias' Stand

Couldn't be more excited to see our favorite vegan, Elias, repping kids who don't eat meat in the New York Times! Check out the Smartypants-produced film about Elias' journey over at Elias' Stand!

We're in the The New York Times!

05/30/2018
Joshua Seftel | MPAC Media Awards

Watch our founding director Joshua Seftel accept the MPAC Media Award for The Secret Life of Muslims, share his inspiration for the series, and recount how not going to medical school may have been one of his best ideas.

A heartfelt thanks to the Muslim Public Affairs Council - MPAC for their support of our series and to the fellow awardees who we got to share this honor with! #MPACMediaAwards

---------- Subscribe to MPAC's channel: http://bit.ly/MPACYouTube Visit MPAC's website: http://mpac.org Like MPAC on Facebook: http://fb.com/mpacnational Fol...

04/17/2018
NE-YO

Check out our latest for The Lincoln Motor Company, featuring musical powerhouse NE-YO and directed by Joshua Seftel.

In the latest chapter of “Lincoln First Listen,” we spent a night driving around Los Angeles in the brand new 2018 Lincoln Navigator and asking NE-YO about his new single and what it means to be a “Good Man."

Giving you a first look at my The Lincoln Motor Company First Listen. #GoodManSeason

03/23/2018
Muslim Public Affairs Council - MPAC

We are beyond honored that The Secret Life of Muslims and Joshua Seftel are being awarded at the 2018 MPAC Media Awards on April 28th! The Muslim Public Affairs Council - MPAC event celebrates authentic portrayals of Islam and Muslims. Learn more about MPAC – and revisit the "Secret Life" cast taking on internet trolls – below.

You don’t have to tell us twice - this is the era of internet trolls. Creator Joshua Seftel is throwing stereotypes in your face with his series, ‘The Secret Life of Muslims.’

Join us in honoring Josh for revealing our secrets! If you’re in LA on April 28, join us at the 2018 MPAC Media Awards. Learn more http://bit.ly/2p7GLXQ.

Smartypants's cover photo
03/19/2018

Smartypants's cover photo

03/09/2018
Elias' Stand

You worked hard this week. Here's a cute animal video we made.
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Elias' Stand was directed by Jyllian Gunther and produced by Joshua Seftel and Rachel Gunther. Special thanks to Tofurky!

Help Elias on his mission by donating to Maple Farm Sanctuary.

Official Selection:
IFFBoston
Traverse City Film Festival
Cinema at the Edge Festival
Sarasota Film Festival
Toronto Beaches Film Festival
Nevada City Film Festival

03/06/2018
The Dodo

We were just featured in The Dodo! Our short doc, Elias' Stand, was showcased by the preeminent source of cute animal videos on Planet Earth. We're so excited, we could impulse-adopt a micropig.

This rescued sheep was so scared, she never let people touch her — until she met this kid 🐑 💞

Celebratory moonwalk, anyone? We're in National Geographic​'s Short Film Showcase! Joshua Seftel​'s short doc (made ...
01/26/2018
See How Dancing Helps This Young Refugee Feel Welcome in a New Country

Celebratory moonwalk, anyone? We're in National Geographic​'s Short Film Showcase! Joshua Seftel​'s short doc (made in partnership with the incredible International Rescue Committee​) tells Zain's immigration story: a Michael Jackson dance move expert's journey from refugee to "American Boy."

Meet 13-year-old Zain Younus—Pakistani refugee and dedicated Michael Jackson fan.

01/05/2018
Facing History and Ourselves

Check out this film we created for Facing History and Ourselves, an educational nonprofit with a unique mission - to teach students about anti-Semitism, racism, prejudice, and tolerance so they're equipped to take on injustices in their daily lives!

We confront #history beyond just facts and figures. We empower #teachers to ask tough questions and engage #students in finding the answers. Help #FacingHistory reach more teachers and students. #Give Today. http://bit.ly/2Ch3yGM

Smartypants is proud to introduce our new mascot, the dapper Brooklyn pigeon, Matcha. Find Matcha perched at the corner ...
11/21/2017

Smartypants is proud to introduce our new mascot, the dapper Brooklyn pigeon, Matcha. Find Matcha perched at the corner of Jay and Plymouth Streets, thinking about the best approach to innovative branded content and documentary filmmaking while sipping an overpriced green tea drink. Though she is by far the most intelligent pigeon in the borough, she does not actually wear a bowtie and monocle.

…..we like to take some creative liberties.

Designed by Kaori Drome

On location in #philadelphia this week where we get to see @bloodwell in action on home turf. ...#cinematographer #filmp...
11/03/2017

On location in #philadelphia this week where we get to see @bloodwell in action on home turf.
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#cinematographer #filmproduction #arriamira #onset #upenn #filmcrew #smartypantspictures

10/09/2017
Op-Docs

Check out the newly launched NYT Op-Docs page where you can now stream our film The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano!

Phillip Toledano was terrified of growing old. So he decided to do it as many times as possible.

10/09/2017
Caltech’s Kip Thorne: Long Haul, Towering Discovery

Kip Thorne recently won the 2017 Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking work on gravitational waves! Smartypants got to spend the day with Kip at California Institute of Technology - Caltech to see what makes him tick.

On September 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) for the first time observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called g...

Big night tonight for @secretlifeofmuslims - #emmys #emmys2017 #documentary
10/05/2017

Big night tonight for @secretlifeofmuslims - #emmys #emmys2017 #documentary

We had a wonderful time last night at @norwoodclub celebrating The Secret Life of Muslim's Emmy nomination. What an amaz...
10/05/2017

We had a wonderful time last night at @norwoodclub celebrating The Secret Life of Muslim's Emmy nomination. What an amazing team of funders, participants, producers and supporters this series has brought together. Now off to the awards!
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#emmys #emmynominee #emmyawards #secretlifeofmuslims #americanmuslim #muslim #series #documentary #vox

Honored that Nashville's 21c Museum Hotels will be featuring our Phil Toledano film among a showcase of The New York Tim...
09/28/2017
Nashville's 21c Museum Hotel to host an evening of art docs

Honored that Nashville's 21c Museum Hotels will be featuring our Phil Toledano film among a showcase of The New York Times Op-Docs for its September 29th exhibit "Truth or Dare: A Reality Show." Nashville friends, come out and see the film if you're free!

Nashville’s 21c Museum Hotel gave our city its best new contemporary art stop when it opened downtown this spring. 21c’s three floors of gallery spaces – all free of charge and open 24/7 – are currently hosting a broad and engaging group exhibition entitled

09/27/2017
Facing History and Ourselves

We had a great time creating this series of short animated films with the teams at Facing History and Ourselves and RP3 Agency.

Here's one about a high school student named Charlie, who was inspired by the work of activist Harvey Milk.

Some moments in history can have a lasting impact. For our student Charlie, a powerful speech in 1978 was one of them. Read his essay and find lesson plans: http://bit.ly/2xAjnJr #MyPartoftheStory

Big thanks to all our wonderful crew in LA who helped us pull off one of our most 'ambitious' shoots yet! Couldn't have ...
09/26/2017

Big thanks to all our wonderful crew in LA who helped us pull off one of our most 'ambitious' shoots yet! Couldn't have done it without all your hard work (and patience!) 🎥

On set in #LA this week - Karaoke anyone? ...#losangeles #la #lalaland #film #production #karaoke #cinematography #alexa...
09/23/2017

On set in #LA this week - Karaoke anyone?
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#losangeles #la #lalaland #film #production #karaoke #cinematography #alexamini #director #dp #setlife #onset #hazer

09/19/2017
Port Townsend Film Festival

What a great surprise! We just got word that ZAIN'S SUMMER: FROM REFUGEE TO AMERICAN BOY received the award for Best Character Documentary at Port Townsend Film Festival! Revisit Zain's journey by checking out the film on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/222692007

Best Character Documentary
ZAIN'S SUMMER-FROM REFUGEE TO AMERICAN BOY-Directed by Joshua Seftel
The award for "Best Character Documentary" goes to a film that reminds us what it means to find and then live the American Dream. Our rich character, a young Pakistani boy, leads us with wisdom and humor from a war-torn country to a new home in Brooklyn's Sheepshead Bay.

That moment when you can see the rain clouds forming but you're getting great shots - what to do?•••#bostonunivers...
09/09/2017

That moment when you can see the rain clouds forming but you're getting great shots - what to do?



#bostonuniversity #boston #film #filmmaking #production #productionlife #onset #arri #cinematography #smartypantspictures

07/31/2017
"Taking on the Kennedys" at Woods Hole Film Festival

Filmmaker Joshua Seftel's mom has a movie recommendation for you! Pat Seftel, the My Mom On Movies scene-stealer, has nothing but positive things to say about "Taking on the Kennedys," Joshua Seftel's landmark campaign documentary. It screens tonight at Woods Hole Film Festival, where he is this year's "Filmmaker-in-Residence." Will you be at the screening?

07/28/2017
Joshua Seftel at Woods Hole Film Festival

Celebrity sighting! Joshua Seftel's mom, our favorite scene-stealer from My Mom On Movies, will stop by Woods Hole Film Festival to support her son, this year's "Filmmaker In Residence." The festival will cover a retrospective of Josh's career through screenings, panels, and a master class. If you're in the area, stop by to see his films and the other fantastic selections. While you're there, say hi to Joshua (and maybe you'll get to meet Pat, too!)

We're Emmy-nominated!Excited to announce that our digital series The Secret Life of Muslims has been nominated in the Ou...
07/25/2017

We're Emmy-nominated!

Excited to announce that our digital series The Secret Life of Muslims has been nominated in the Outstanding Short Documentary category for The News & Documentary Emmy Awards.

Congrats to the Smartypants team, we couldn’t have done it without you.

More here: http://mailchi.mp/seftel/833jaax8pm-2739097
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w/ Joshua Seftel, Reza Aslan, Wajahat Ali, Dena Takruri, Anna Bick Rowe, Erika Frankel, Jaclyn Biskup, Kashif Shaikh, John Dragonetti, Naiti Gámez, Ben Bloodwell, Rob Chapman, Rabab Haj Yahya, Marc Vives, Amanda Larson, Jacob Steingroot, Steve Benjamin, Nick Cancelliere, Eric Nichols, Salwa Shameem, Amy Shand, Cory Saul and our funders Ford Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The New York Community Trust, and Pillars Fund.

07/20/2017
Behind The Scenes: Mona Haydar's new music video 'Dog'

We made a music video! “Dog” is directed by Smartypants’ very own Erika Frankel and features rapper and The Secret Life of Muslims alum Mona Haydar and Jackie Cruz from Orange is the New Black.

Check out our exclusive behind-the-scenes film below - a special episode of our Peabody-nominated web series, The Secret Life of Muslims.
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Check out the original music video co-produced by Smartypants: https://www.facebook.com/SecretlifeofMuslims/videos/1456593944421654/

07/10/2017

Proud to receive a #vimeostaffpick for our short doc 'Zain's Summer: From Refugee to American Boy'. You can watch the film now on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/222692007

Join filmmakers Joshua Seftel​, Geeta Gandbhir, and Renee Harbers this Friday at the Northside Festival (It's like SXS...
06/08/2017
Northside Festival – Schedule

Join filmmakers Joshua Seftel​, Geeta Gandbhir, and Renee Harbers this Friday at the Northside Festival (It's like SXSW for Brooklyn, but chiller) for a discussion about some of the most impactful short films shown on The New York Times​ Op-Docs, moderated by the one and only Kathleen Lingo!

Join Smartypants director Joshua Seftel, this year's Filmmaker-In-Residence at Woods Hole Film Festival, one of the "Top...
05/30/2017
Top 10 Massachusetts Summer Events of 2017 - New England Today

Join Smartypants director Joshua Seftel, this year's Filmmaker-In-Residence at Woods Hole Film Festival, one of the "Top 10 Massachusetts Summer Events of 2017" says Yankee Magazine.

From modern dance in the great outdoors to tall ships in the harbor, our list of the top 10 Massachusetts summer events has something for everyone.

Thanks to our friends at Sanford School of Public Policy for covering our digital series, The Secret Life of Muslims, on...
05/22/2017
Sanford School of Public Policy

Thanks to our friends at Sanford School of Public Policy for covering our digital series, The Secret Life of Muslims, on their podcast.

In the latest episode of Sanford's Ways & Means podcast, we share stories from the Vox project, The Secret Life of Muslims - and try to separate truth from fiction.

Special thanks to Seftel Productions, David Schanzer and Evelyn Alsultany of the University of Michigan.

Our series, The Secret Life of Muslims was featured at SXSW. Check out this podcast of series director Joshua Seftel, AJ...
05/16/2017
The Secret Life of Muslims Explores Muslims in the Media

Our series, The Secret Life of Muslims was featured at SXSW. Check out this podcast of series director Joshua Seftel, AJ+'s Dena Takruri, World Without Hate's Rais Bhuiyan, and Vox's Matteen Mokalla discuss the relationship between Muslim Americans and media portrayal.

Dena Takruri hosts a provocative conversation tackling the plagued relationship between Muslim Americans and media portrayal. The centerpiece, Vox’s viral series "The Secret Life of Muslims," makes an

05/05/2017
Smartypants

Absolutely thrilled that Zain's Summer took the audience award for Best Documentary Short at Independent Film Festival Boston!

Just in time for IFFBOSTON, check out our new trailer for Zain's Summer, screening this weekend at the historic Somerville Theatre! Grab tickets here: http://bit.ly/2prbPUn

04/28/2017
Elias' Stand – Trailer

This weekend, Smartypants takes New England with not one but two films in Independent Film Festival Boston!

Elias' Stand and Zain's Summer will be making their Boston premieres as selections in IFFB's Documentary Shorts program. Tickets at iffboston.org!

We're thrilled to announce that our web series The Secret Life of Muslims is a 2017 Peabody Awards finalist! Congratulat...
04/05/2017
The Secret Life of Muslims

We're thrilled to announce that our web series The Secret Life of Muslims is a 2017 Peabody Awards finalist!

Congratulations to the whole team, and thank you to everyone who has supported the series, including our funders Ford Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The New York Community Trust, and Pillars Fund, as well as our distribution partners Vox, USA TODAY, and PRI's The World.

We are thrilled to announce that The Secret Life of Muslims is a 2017 Peabody Awards finalist. With Ford Foundation, The New York Community Trust.

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