NEW YORK -- A group of Brooklyn-based filmmakers got an Oscar nod for their documentary years in the making that captures the story of one veteran's journey battling PTSD who is embraced by a community he set out to destroy.
"Stranger at the Gate" tells a story so remarkable that it could restore your faith in humanity and is part of the nominee list for best documentary short in this year's Oscars lineup.
Director Josh Seftel faced anti-semitism growing up in Schenectady and uses his experience as a filmmaker to fight bigotry.
The story told in this short documentary perfectly shows that love can conquer hate. The film got an extra boost of support when Malala Yousafzai signed on to be the film's executive producer.
Malala is an activist and the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize for her education activism in Pakistan.
The film follows Richard "Mac" McKinney who spent the majority of his 25 years in the U.S. Marine Corps in active combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
McKinney returns to Indiana suffering from PTSD and develops Islamophobic ideals that fuel secret plans to destroy a local mosque.
"I was hoping for at least 200 or more dead, injured," McKinney said in the trailer.
Mac McKinney heads to his target in Munvie, Indiana to determine the best way to destroy the building when he's greeted unexpectedly at the gate.
"When I first saw him I remember saying there's something not right with this guy," Jomo Williams said.
That's when Williams decided to embrace McKinney and welcome him into the community.
"This film is about a veteran who wants to commit mass murder," Seftel said. "He wants to blow up a mosque and, the veteran doesn't know what to do. He doesn't expect this. He thinks these people are evil."
The warmth of their welcome changes McKinney's point of view.
"That melted his heart," Seftel said. "And, over time he becomes part of this community, and he is embraced by them and then when they learn that he was going to kill them, they forgive him."
Seftel and his team spent many years bringing this story to television and last month their faith was vindicated when their documentary got an Oscar nomination.
"To get this nomination is the greatest thing ever because it's going to help us reach more people," Seftel said. "Every human being is redeemable, and I think that's a really important message to embrace right now."
"Stranger at the Gate" is available to watch for free on YouTube.