In his 28 years producing for FRONTLINE, Martin Smith has covered the world: from revolution in Central America and the fall of communism in Russia, to the rise of Al Qaeda and the war in Iraq. Smith was among the first journalists to investigate Col. Oliver North’s clandestine network and one of the first western reporters to investigate the emergence of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda network.
Since 1998 Smith has been with RAIN Media, an independent production company in New York City, beginning with the production of Hunting bin Laden (1999), a prescient film produced three years before 9/11. Since founding Rain, Smith and his producing partner and wife Marcela Gaviria have produced and reported dozens of hours for FRONTLINE. Among his credits are Drug Wars (2000); and three documentaries examining the roots of 9/11 — Looking for Answers (2001), Saudi Time Bomb? (2001) and In Search of Al Qaeda (2002).
Since the invasion of Iraq, Smith has produced four films on Iraq for FRONTLINE: Gangs of Iraq (2007), Private Warriors (2005), Beyond Baghdad (2004) and Truth, War and Consequences (2003), nominated by New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute as one of the top works of journalism of the decade 2000-2009.
Smith has also covered the conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan for FRONTLINE, producing the award winning trilogy In Search of Al Qaeda (2002), Return of the Taliban (2006), in which he reported from the forbidden tribal areas of western Pakistan. In 2007, Smith was awarded an Edward Weintal Special Citation in recognition of a career of distinguished reporting on foreign policy and diplomacy by the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University. Additionally Smith produced Obama’s War (2009), a film on U.S. policy challenges in Afghanistan, which was honored by the Overseas Press Club with an Edward R. Murrow Award.
He has also reported the recent natural and man-made disasters in New Orleans, Haiti and the Gulf of Mexico. He produced The Storm (2006), an Emmy Award-winning look at Hurricane Katrina and the state of America’s emergency response system, The Quake (2010) a powerful report on Haiti’s tragedy, and The Spill (2010), which received a first place award from the Society of Environmental Journalism.
Smith has completed several business films for FRONTLINE including HEAT (2008), about business and climate change, winner of Best Environmental Program at the Banff Television Festival, The Madoff Affair (2009), which won an Emmy for Outstanding Documentary on a Business Topic, a Writer’s Guild Award, and a George Foster Peabody Award, and most recently produced, the landmark economy miniseries Money, Power, and Wall Street (2012).
Smith studied comparative literature at Brown University and has a BFA from the Institute of Film and Television at New York University. He lives in New York City.