When Joshua Seftel graduated from Tufts University, he had one desire: to change the world. He planned to go to medical school and then travel with an international relief organization like Doctors Without Borders, providing medical care to those in need. That was before filmmaking took his life’s journey on a detour.
Seftel recalls thinking, “I’ll just make one film and then I’ll go become a doctor.” But, that’s not quite what happened. In 1990, the 22-year-old borrowed a friend’s video camera and set off for Romania to make a film about abandoned children there. He lived in orphanages and learned the children’s stories. When he came back, Seftel made a film for $2,000, which aired on national television.
The film had a tremendous impact. Besides being nominated for an Emmy Award, the film raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and inspired thousands of Americans to adopt Romanian children. While Seftel had previously been thinking about medical school, the realization suddenly struck him, “I can make an impact by making movies. That’s when I really got hooked.”
Since then, Seftel Productions has taken off. The company’s organizing principle, according to Seftel, is that every project they take on has a social conscience. They’ve been involved in everything from feature films with A-list actors, to a film about modern day slavery, to work for an organization that sends doctors around the world.
Trusting in partners
Seftel’s as smart as he is passionate. He knows when to reach out for help, especially when it comes to financial matters – Bank of America has been his personal and professional banking partner for the last 20 years. Seftel must open an account for each of his many projects, adding complication and stress to his small business. But, he trusts the counsel he receives from Bank of America Client Manager Ramon Escano. “It’s reassuring to know that we can pick up the phone and talk to Ramon about whatever issues or questions might arise. The partnership is a win-win,” he said. Adds Escano, “We’re very glad that Josh has been with Bank of America for all these years, because we believe in him and his vision for Seftel Productions.”
Seftel’s work is inspiring and his success indisputable. While his career path isn’t what he first envisioned, partners like Bank of America have helped him reach the same destination. “What I’ve learned is there are different ways to change the world,” Seftel said.