The War Reporter

One of the most remarkable war journalists of modern times

The War Reporter From Somalia's painful struggles, to Liberia's apocalyptic civil war. In fact before he was killed Martin Adler recorded pretty much every war going. His blood-stained but very human dispatches helped define the way we saw foreign conflicts for over a decade. His quiet sensitivity while in the heart of darkness bought him awards and acclaim. For the first time his photographs and thousands of hours of video have been brought together to produce a riveting profile of an extraordinary man.
"This bloke knows what he's seen but he's not talking!", cries a US army troop embodying the gung ho attitude at the start of the Iraq war. Haunting scenes from Martin's life flash before our eyes - women sweeping the ground in the middle of a bombed-out Chechnya; a Liberian warlord holding an AK 47 in one hand and a baby in the other; desecrated landscapes from Uganda to Algeria. Martin allowed the images to speak for themselves, fuelled by a fearless curiosity, which would eventually get him killed: "I want to go to the place where nobody else goes to and I want to listen to the people nobody else listens to".

It takes a particular kind of man to be a war reporter - living on your wits on an unsteady income, never knowing what the next day will bring. Yet as Martin's friends remember: "he was not the kind of guy who could have done anything else". Riding along with Martin as we watch his fifteen year long journey through forty different war-ravaged countries, is a terrifying experience. In the hell of the Liberian Civil War, bodies fall like cards, splattering the camera with blood. Yet Martin always somehow manages to pull out the individual, as one of the warlords reminds us: "We are fighting for our fucking lives!".

Beyond the 'bang and blood' of Martin's filming, so much of which made its way to our television screens, Martin made a quieter comment on our world of war. Yet almost inevitably, one day the barrel of the gun turned on Martin himself. In 2006, he was shot in the back in broad daylight, by what appears to have been an Islamic radical bent on disturbing Somalia's quest for peace. He left behind him an unbelievable legacy, and now has a journalistic award bearing his name. "I can't imagine Martin sitting in a rocking chair as an old man", says his brother, "he would never have experienced life reduced".
Producer: Anders Palm. Director: Thomas Nordanstad



The Producers

Thomas Nordanstad is a filmmaker and curator, based in Stockholm, Sweden and Bangkok, Thailand. His previous documentary and feature films include “Painting Pol Pot” (2000), Hashima, Japan, 2002 (2002) “Snow White and the Ambassador” (2004), “Dictators Don´t Wear Jeans (2006)”, “Going Astray (Long Thang, 2007), “Anastasia in Love (2003-10) made as well as numerous TV features and short films.

Making The Film

"Martin was a war journalist but he was also my husband and the father of my two daughters. He was absolutely loved, missed and irreplaceable. Some time after he was killed I decided a film about him had to be made. I wanted the world to remember him and also to have something to help his daughters remember what a remarkable man their father was. Martin had worked for 20 years as a freelance photographer and writer and travelled to over 40 war zones. He'd made so many films and shot thousands of photographs. Making a film about him was going to be complex and require huge resources. Where would I start? I had no experience at all... It took too many conversations to recall, and a lot of arm twisting. In the end I found a saviour in Martin's old friend Ola Rollén who helped with the financing and to find a producer who would do the rest. And now we have a film which I believe not only salutes Martin and his work but which is also a great documentary. We will never forget you Martin."

Katarina Adler

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