‘Awards Chatter’ Podcast — Malala Yousafzai (‘Stranger at the Gate’)
Malala Yousafzai, the guest on this episode of The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, is one of the most remarkable young women in the world. Since the age of 11, she has been a tireless activist for girls to have access to a quality education. For daring to take this position in her native Pakistan, she was shot in the head in 2012, but she survived, recovered and has continued her fight, for which she was recognized in 2014, at the age of just 17, as the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
And now, she’s bringing her talents to Hollywood, generally — and, THR can exclusively report, to the Academy Awards, as well. “I will be there at the Oscars,” the executive producer of the Oscar-nominated documentary short Stranger at the Gate tells us. “I’m thinking about what I’m going to wear, so I am working with the stylist right now, and we are going through different sketches and how the dress should look. It can be pretty scary, but I’m just excited. I am really excited to be in the company of such incredible people who we have admired, seen onscreen for many years and who have impacted our lives.”
Yousafzai sat down with THR last week in Santa Monica, where she was staying while participating in promotional activities for Stranger at the Gate, a 29-minute documentary directed by Joshua Seftel that tells the remarkable story of a PTSD-afflicted Islamophobic veteran of the U.S. Marines, who had planned to bomb a mosque in Indiana, only to be won over, while visiting the mosque, by its congregants.
Over the course of this episode, Yousafzai, who is now 25, reflects on her early years and what inspired her to become an activist in the first place; what her life has been like since she was shot, and the degree to which progress for her cause has been made; and why she is increasingly devoting her attention to the entertainment industry. Indeed, in 2021, prior to her association with Stranger at the Gate, she established a production company, Extracurricular, which is overseen by former Berlanti Productions executive Erika Kennair and has a deal with Apple TV+.
In the opening segment, though, our guest is Seftel, the veteran documentary filmmaker who directed — and is now Oscar-nominated for — Stranger at the Gate. He discusses his path to that project and working with Yousafzai.