Stranger at the Gate, which is nominated for an Academy Award, tells the true story of the U.S. Marine Richard (Mac) McKinney. Suffering from P.T.S.D., McKinney decides to target the mosque in his home town of Muncie, Indiana. When he arrives at the mosque to gather more information for his plan, the congregants, including Afghan refugees and an African American convert, welcome him, get to know him, and show him deep love and kindness. Within weeks, the story takes a stunning turn, which as Executive Producer Malala Yousafzai said, “challenges every viewer to question their assumptions and show kindness to everyone they meet.”
On March 8, 2023, FOLCS was joined by Stranger at the Gate director, Joshua Seftel, film subject Richard “Mac” McKinney and executive producer Rev. Dr. Conrad Fischer.
Stranger at the Gate is the latest film in Joshua Seftel’s Emmy- and Peabody-nominated “Secret Life of Muslims” project (SXSW), which combats Islamophobia with filmmaking. Seftel, who experienced antisemitism as a child, has been committed to working on this subject matter for the past seven years.
At age twenty-two, Seftel made his first film, the Emmy-nominated “Lost and Found” (PBS), which exposed the conditions of Romania’s orphaned and abandoned children and spurred the American adoption of thousands of children. His other award-winning films include “Taking on the Kennedys” (POV), “Ennis’ Gift” (HBO), “The Home Team” (SXSW), “The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano” (NYT Op-Docs, Tribeca), and the anti-war movie “War, Inc.” (Tribeca), starring John Cusack, Marisa Tomei, and Ben Kingsley.
He is also a contributor to the Peabody Award-winning podcast “This American Life” and a commentator on CBS’s “Sunday Morning,” where he regularly interviews his eighty-five-year-old mother.
Richard "Mac" McKinney
Richard “Mac” McKinney is an ex U.S. marine, who after 25 years of service, returned home to Muncie, Indiana. Mac went on to become the president of the Muncie Islamic Center for 2 years, and is now an active community leader. He has spoken across the country and serves as a Skills Coach at the largest community mental health center in Indiana.
Rev. Dr. Conrad Fischer
Reverend Dr. Conrad Fischer, MD is Professor of Medicine at Touro College of Medicine in New York. Dr. Fischer is Vice-Chairman of Medicine, Residency Program Director in Internal Medicine at Brookdale University Medical Center in Brooklyn. He is ordained as Reader and Sub-Deacon of the Russian Orthodox Church and is the President of the Institute for the Studies of Eastern Christianity. He is also on the board of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy. He is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary. His area of interest is religious violence. He is the author of several textbooks of medicine.