Marcel Mettelsiefen

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Marcel Mettelsiefen
Notable workWatani: My Homeland

Marcel Mettelsiefen (born 1978) is a documentary filmmaker, cinematographer, and producer.

His documentaries have earned him critical appraisal and recognition. Among others, Mettelsiefen has won three BAFTA and three Emmy awards, and was nominated for an Oscar in 2017 for Watani: My Homeland in the category of Best Documentary Short.

Mettelsiefen has a background in photojournalism and has reported from across the Middle East and Afghanistan.

He is the co-founder of the magazine zenith, one of the leading publications about the Middle East and the Arab world in Germany, and a founding member of the German non-for-profit organization Candid Foundation.

Mettelsiefen studied political science and medicine at the Humboldt University in Berlin and photographed within Syria more than twenty-five times. It was in Syria that he moved from photojournalism and then into documentary filmmaking.

Professional career[edit]

Marcel Mettelsiefen was born in Munich to a German father and an Ecuadorian mother and began taking photographs after graduating from high school. He came to photojournalism through his work for the magazine Zenith - Zeitschrift für den Orient, founded in 1998.

In early 2000, he traveled to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, photographing for the Associated Press news agency. After his return, he began working for the news German Press news agency, for which he reported from crisis areas such as Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003) and Haiti (2004).

In addition to his work as a photographer, Marcel Mettelsiefen studied politics and medicine at the FU Berlin. In 2008 he went to Afghanistan for 14 months, where he started a close cooperation with Spiegel correspondent Christoph Reuter from Kabul.

At the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring, Marcel Mettelsiefen traveled to the besieged areas in Egypt and Libya for the news magazine

Der Spiegel. From 2011 to 2014, he travelled undercover to Syria more than 28 times and produced numerous reports and short documentaries for which he received numerous international awards, including the Emmy Award, Bafta, Grierson and the Dupont Award.

One of Mettelsiefen's best-known films is the short documentary Watani: My Homeland, which tells the story of children in war-torn Syria.

Over a period of three years, Marcel documented the life of a Syrian mother and her four small children in the besieged city of Aleppo.

The film was nominated for an Academy Award in 2015 and won a Peabody Award, a Grierson Award, and an Emmy Award, among others.

In his four-part documentary series "Afghanistan - the Wounded land," Marcel Mettelsiefen weaves together unseen archival footage with first-hand testimonials from those who have endured the tragic events of the last 50 years in Afghanistan. In a 360-degree approach, he lets various actors have their say. CIA agents, Soviet generals, Afghan warlords, but above all many strong Afghan women.

His latest feature documentary, "In Her Hands" premiered to great acclaim on the opening weekend of the Toronto Film Festival 2022 and was sold to Netflix. "In Her Hands" is a full-bodied, cinematic portrait of strong immediacy, insight, and humanity about the events that transpired in the months leading up to the fall of Kabul. This purely observational documentary follows 26-year-old Zarifa Ghafari, one of Afghanistan's youngest female politicians. At the same time, it takes us into the mountains to meet her opponents, the Taliban. With strong access to both sides, the film manages to show the complete reality of a deeply divided country.


Awards and nominations[edit]


External links[edit]