Rod Martel

Art Form(s)



[email protected]

I am interested in collaborative work.


Artist Statement

In high school, cameras became my way to overcome and remember the visual details of my life. Because I have a mild form of prosopagnosia, commonly known as face blindness, I have difficulty recognizing people’s faces out of context. As a child, I (and no one else, it seemed) had a name for this embarrassing, anxiety-provoking condition. But as I grew up, I realized that a camera was the perfect antidote. My Grandfather, Karl Freund, whose career started at age 15, sent me a brand new 4 x 5 Speed Graphic camera. During my senior year in High School, I left school every day at noon to work a local portrait studio in both the developing and printing darkrooms. Despite the difficulty of recognizing faces, I remember sounds, smells, colors, textures and emotional themes. I still vividly recall those smells, colors and emotions of childhood, and THIS is what I attempt to portray in my work. We grow up and begin to realize that while those sensory impressions of childhood may offer us solace, there is the another set of evolving facts which in the slow revelation of adulthood, begin to coalesce into a more accurate reality. For me, reconstructing the past is more like what memoirist Rigoberto Gonzalez describes as digging “through the rubble of memory,” and as children even though we are unable to put words to occurrences, we often sense the highly charged emotional moments in our families of origin. As a memoirist and filmmaker, I walk the fine line between betrayal and portrayal. I strive to maintain an overall aura of respect as I insert myself into my subject’s times, WITHOUT their express permission. It’s a sacred responsibility, and I do not take it lightly.

Rod Martel is the grandson of German born cinematographer/director Karl Freund (Metropolis, The Mummy). He came to filmmaking late, with his first film: Susette’s Story completed in 2013 at the age of 63. His second film, Lost in Berlin, was the result of 7 years work and a dedicated production team, many of whom volunteered their time or worked for a “stipend” to complete the project. Lost In Berlin has garnered 21 wins and 10 nominations awards including Best Documentary at Central Florida Film festival (CENFLO) and Best Feature at the Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival. Rod is happily married to Colleen, together, having raised 7 children in a blended family. He continues his private practice as a Licensed Psychologist in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Documentary consultation
Rough-Cut review/consultation/feedback
Collaborative projects

Work Samples

Artist-produced image Artist-produced image Artist-produced image Artist-produced image Artist-produced image Artist-produced image Artist-produced image Artist-produced image Artist-produced image Artist-produced image