Directed by award-winning filmmaker Ricki Stern, “A Radical Life” takes us inside the mind of Tania Joya, a former Islamic extremist once married to the highest-ranking American in ISIS. Tania was a working-class British teenager from a Bangladeshi family when her longing for purpose and belonging following the 9/11 attacks drew her to Islamic extremism. On the other side of the Atlantic, an all-American teenager from a military family named John Georgelas was also radicalizing – casting off his Greek Orthodox heritage and embracing Islamic extremism. After Tania and John met online, they quickly got married and started raising sons who they hoped would help fulfill their shared dreams of establishing an Islamic State. But when Georgelas relocates the family to Syria at the height of civil war, Tania is forced to make an impossible choice. Set against a backdrop of an ongoing war on terror, the rise of ISIS, and the proliferation of extremism ideologies, Tania’s unique and exclusive POV takes us inside a journey fueled by blind devotion, false promises, and misguided idealism that leads to points of no return. Award-winning director, producer, writer Ricki Stern joins us for a conversation on meeting Tania Joya, deciding to making her the focus of a documentary, illuminating the larger context of jihadism and Islam and what we can learn from Joya’s story.
DEBUTS OCTOBER 13, 2022 ON DISCOVERY+
About the filmmaker – RICKI STERN is an Emmy-nominated documentary film director, producer and writer. Films have been shown on Netflix, AMC, PBS, National Geographic, Showtime, History Channel, IFC, HBO and ESPN. Ricki is the Executive Producer and Director of 6-part series SURVIVING DEATH (NETFLIX, 2021), Director and Executive Producer of the Emmy-nominated JOAN RIVERS A PIECE OF WORK (Sundance FF, winner). Ricki is the Co-Director and Co-Producer of the 4-part series Lifetime SURVIVING JEFFREY EPSTEIN (2020), 5-part series AMC / Sundance’s PREPPY MURDER – DEATH IN CENTRAL PARK, MY SO-CALLED HIGH SCHOOL RANK (HBO 2022), Emmy-nominated REVERSING ROE (Telluride Int. FF, Netflix 2018), MARATHON – The Patriots Day Bombing (HBO 2016), IN MY FATHER’S (Showtime 2015), KNUCKLEBALL! (Showtime 2012), BURMA SOLDIER (HBO 2011), Emmy-nominated THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK (Sundance FF, HBO 2007), the Emmy–nominated THE TRIALS OF DARYL HUNT (Sundance FF, HBO 2006, Independent Spirit nominee), Director IN MY CORNER (PBS 1998). Director / Producer Emmy-nominated NEGLECT NOT THE CHILDREN (PBS 1992).Recognized with A Lifetime Achievement Award from Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, the Best Female Filmmakers Award-San Diego Film Festival, The Best Female Filmmakers Award- St. Louis FF, Adrienne Shelly Excellence in Filmmaking Award and Lena Sharpe/Women in Cinema Persistence of Vision Award–Seattle International Film Festival.