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‘Politics, Media, and Storytelling’ with award-winning filmmaker Martin Gerner

Photo by Martin GernerThe Lamar University Department of Communication, Reaud Honors College, along with Lamar's Beta Xi Chapter of Phi Beta Delta and the Office of Undergraduate Research, are co-sponsoring a three-day interdisciplinary seminar on Politics, Media, and Storytelling, October 19-21.

The seminar offers a fresh eye on storytelling and news making through various media formats (film, journalism/photo-journalism, radio broadcast) and political insights from an international expert who has traveled to many war zones of the world. The award-winning film director and news correspondent Martin Gerner, a German-based author, will present his vision of independent storytelling.

On Thursday, October 19, the seminar will focus on documentary storytelling and cinematographic narratives from 9:35 a.m. to 10:55 a.m. In addition, Gerner will discuss his work and share his experiences as filmmaker in Afghanistan and on the changes military interventions have brought for cinematographic storytelling locally and internationally. 

A panel discussion on “Comparative Perspectives on Afghanistan: The Forgotten War” will take place from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the University Reception Center, 8th Floor of the Mary and John Gray Library. Joining Gerner on the panel will be LU faculty members Elena Sandovici, Mahmoud Salimi, and Kevin Dodson.

At 6:30 p.m., Gerner’s award-winning film “Generation Kunduz: The War of the Others” will be screened in the Dr. Richard L. Price Auditorium, Herman Iles Building, John Gray Center. A panel discussion will follow the screening.

Image by Martin GernerOn Friday, October 20, sessions at 10:20 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. and 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. will focus on journalism (photo-journalism, radio, online, graphics design) and international politics in today's media world. There, Gerner will define and discuss intercultural challenges in the Islam-Western debate and share on nationalism in media and international phenomena of populism.

On Saturday October 21, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., participants will pitch ideas, propose projects or research topics they would like to work on at LU as a result of the seminar. Gerner will assess and discuss the proposed projects and ideas.

Gerner 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, holding diplomas from both Germany and France.

He has spent more than a decade in Afghanistan working to build up 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 an outstanding German documentary. The film is one of a few shot war-torn northern Afghanistan, recently recaptured by the Taliban 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 among others.

Some of Gerner’s photographic work was recognized recently as best shots of the year at Kolga International Photo Tiflis/Georgia (2015) and exhibited as part of the European Month of Photography in Berlin (2016).

In 2015, he co-funded the second Afghan Students’ Theater Festival in Kabul, the only event of its kind in Afghanistan.