Martin Gerner (*1966, Den Helder/Netherlands) is an Award winning film director of documentary feature films, a journalist, reporter and correspondent from war and conflict zones around the world and photo-journalist. Working in the Middle East and Central Asia, he is also a cultural practitioner and curator in the Western-Islamic and inter-cultural context.
He grew up in Holland, Germany and France. He has studied History, Political Science, International and European Law in Berlin, Bonn and Paris/Sciences Po, holding diploma from both countries, Germany and France.
Martin Gerner has spent more than a decade in Afghanistan working for the built-up of independent Afghan media and helping reshape Afghan journalism, filmmaking and theater through independent projects. A senior editor and former presenter with the popular radio morning show Informationen am Morgen on Deutschlandfunk, Germany’s leading radio program with BBC quality standards, he is currently a freelance correspondent for the German ARD, the Union of National Broadcasters, and for national print media.
His documentary feature film Generation Kunduz has won many Awards worldwide as outstanding German documentary. The film is one of a few shot unembeded in the war-torn North of Afghanistan, where Taliban recently recaptured the city for a short interval. His recent movie The World’s Smallest Army focuses on migration to Germany and the hardships of refugees in Europe, pinpointing stereotyped narratives in the Western war on terror.
As a curator, he has initiated and managed a number of international film festivals and cinematographic special programs on Afghanistan, regularly introducing Afghan artists and their creativity and thinking to a Western audience for the first time. These initiatives, together with photographic exhibitions and workshops, have produced some pioneering results in cross-cultural learning and understanding between different ethnic groups and religions.
His teaching builds on his long time experience from the field in Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, Iran, Yemen, Israel, Palestine, India, Mali/Senegal inbetween others. His workshops and lectures focus on the perception of The Other, looking for a fresh eye in intercultural dialogues and including subcultures from different spheres. His work as cultural practioner gravitates to exchanging with partner organisations or individuals keen to reflect on existing stereotypes and changing narratives for new social, political and cultural perspectives.
On photography and photo-journalism, working together with different generations of international photographers in post-conflict Afghanistan after 2001 has inspired him a lot in his quest for new narratives. Some of Martin Gerner’s photographic work was prized recently as best shots of the year 2015 at Kolga International Photo Tiflis/Georgia and has been exhibited as part of the European Month of Photography in Berlin 2016.
He is currently based in Cologne/Germany. Recently he has successfully co-funded the 2nd Afghan Students‘ Theater Festival in Kabul, the only event of its kind in Afghanistan in 2015.