PBS Frontline producer Martin Smith explains U.S. Army’s training of Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution’s Badr Corps and the problems this creates for the American mission to train a national army before withdrawal – the subject of his upcoming documentary “Gangs of Iraq” for Frontline.
MP3 here. (29:09)
Martin Smith is a leading documentary producer with over 30 years experience in television. He has won every major television award, including two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Gold Batons. Smith has been producing for PBS FRONTLINE since the flagship public-affairs series first aired back in 1983. Since then, Smith has produced scores of documentaries for FRONTLINE and has supervised the production of many more. In 1989 Smith produced a special PBS four-part series, AFTER GORBACHEVâ€™S USSR, with former New York Times reporter Hedrick Smith, for which he won his first duPont-Columbia Gold Baton.
In 1998 he created RAIN Media, an independent production company specializing in current affairs programs. Since that time Smith has produced more than a dozen hours of programming for FRONTLINE, including HUNTING BIN LADEN â€” first broadcast in 1999, then updated and rebroadcast immediately after September 11. His other recent FRONTLINE reports include: DRUG WARS, which won every major television award, including an Emmy for Outstanding Analysis of a Single Current Story, the George Foster Peabody Award, Chicago International Film Festival Gold Plaque and a Writer’s Guild Award; LOOKING FOR ANSWERS, a documentary about the United Statesâ€™ failure to understand fully the hatred for America among Muslim fundamentalists; and SAUDI TIME BOMB?, a film about the growing tensions between America and its Saudi ally. In 2003, Smith’s series of films on terrorism won him his second duPont-Columbia Gold Baton, considered the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer prize.
Most recently Smith produced THE STORM, which won an Emmy for its look at Hurricane Katrina and the state of America’s emergency response system, and RETURN OF THE TALIBAN, an investigation of the wild tribal areas in Pakistan, which have become a potential new front in the war on terror.
This is Smithâ€™s fourth film about Iraq since the invasion in 2003. Previously, he produced TRUTH, WAR AND CONSEQUENCES (2003), BEYOND BAGHDAD (2004), and PRIVATE WARRIORS (2005). TRUTH, WAR AND CONSEQUENCES won a 2003 Writers Guild Award and the duPont-Columbia Silver Baton.