Joshua SeftelFounding Director
Joshua Seftel is a 2017 Peabody Awards Finalist and Emmy nominee for his Vox series Secret Life of Muslims. The set of timely and poignant documentaries has had more than 37 million views since Election Day. His 2016 award-winning documentary The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was the most viewed New York Times Op-Doc of the year.
Seftel is best known for directing the political satire War, Inc., starring John Cusack, Ben Kingsley, Joan Cusack, and Marisa Tomei, as well as the Emmy-winning landmark series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Seftel is a contributor to the Peabody Award-winning program This American Life, and his essays have appeared on NPR, The New York Times, and CBS Sunday Morning. Seftel is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His films include Lost and Found (PBS), Taking on the Kennedys (POV), Ennis’ Gift (HBO), The Home Team (SXSW). He frequently directs commercials for clients including the Clio Award-winning Truth anti-smoking campaign, Delta Air Lines, Lincoln Motor Company, Macy's, and Liberty Mutual.
ANNA BICK ROWEExecutive Producer / Head of Production
Since starting with Smartypants in 2012, Anna has filmed in airports around the world with Delta Air Lines, chased sunsets for the perfect shot with NPR, learned photography for The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano, attended a Refugee summer academy with the International Rescue Committee, learned to salsa dance with Bill Nye for PBS, among others.
Anna's short documentary Stand Up, Fight Back, which follows a Boston-based non-profit as they help underprivileged locals fight eviction due to illegal foreclosures, premiered at the Short Film Corner at the Festival de Cannes in 2010. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Tufts University, and is a self-proclaimed google spreadsheet enthusiast.
ERIKA FRANKELExecutive Producer
Erika Frankel directed the feature documentary KING GEORGES (Sundance Selects, Netflix), a portrait of mercurial master chef Georges Perrier in the twilight of his career. The film was praised by Variety (“Poignant, emotional...steady stream of laughter”) and The Philadelphia Inquirer (“A remarkably presented lion-in-winter story”). Erika also produced FRONTRUNNERS (Oscilloscope), a smart and funny look at the hard-fought race for student body president at Stuyvesant High School in New York City.
When she's not dipping her toes into the independent film world, Erika has produced numerous television specials and web series on everything from paleoanthropology to Swedish meatballs. At Smartypants, Erika has worked on branded campaigns for institutions such as Caltech, Harvard, Columbia, Duke, NPR and Liberty Mutual Insurance. But she is most well known for her chocolate chip banana bread.
Jody SniderExecutive Producer / Development Non-Profit & Education
Jody is a producer and creator of award-winning television and radio shows. At Smartypants, she focuses on creative and new business development with health, higher education, and not-for-profit organizations. Her passion is using media for social impact and change.
ERIC NICHOLSHead of Development
Originally from Colorado, Eric studied at AFI Conservatory, graduating with an MFA in Film. After school Eric plunged into directing music videos and branded shorts, including work for SONY and ZEAL OPTICS.
Eric began at Smartypants in 2015 where he oversees development on branded content, film, and TV.
Nathalie is a Producer at Smartypants, where she works on branded campaigns, film, and TV. Nathalie has helped create a wide variety of advertising and branded content – she’s scouted alpaca farms, cast child race car drivers, and spent a day recording ear-piercing screams (the best kind of stress relief). She’s originally from Montreal, Canada.
Wajahat Ali is a journalist, writer, lawyer, an award-winning playwright, a TV personality, and a consultant for the U.S. State Department. He helped launch the Al Jazeera America network as co-host of The Stream, a daily news show that extended the conversation to social media and beyond. He was also a National Correspondent, Political Reporter, and Social Media Expert for Al Jazeera America. There, he focused on stories of communities and individuals often marginalized or under-reported in mainstream media. As a playwright, Ali is the author of The Domestic Crusaders—the first major play about Muslim Americans post-9/11—which was published by McSweeney’s and performed off-Broadway and at the Kennedy Center. He is a Peabody-nominated producer of the series The Secret Life of Muslims, a series of short-form, first-person documentary films featuring a diverse set of American Muslims. Ali was also the lead author and researcher of “Fear Inc., Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,” the seminal report from the Center for American Progress.