A documentary film
directed, written, and produced by Russell Martin
A compelling new film about a Mexico City hospital where young lives are transformed. Beautiful Faces is an intimate portrait of one of the world’s most remarkable clinics, the disfigured young patients to whom it offers new lives, and the team of surgeons, physicians, and medical professionals who believe it’s the best place in the world to practice their unique, life-transforming craft. Beautiful Faces is a film that’s at once moving and inspiring, informative and challenging, a story that’s told with narrative power and visual eloquence.
"A splendid documentary," writes Federico Reyes Heroles in Reforma.
"A great documentary . . . Seeing this film is one of the most significant human and spiritual experiences I've had in recent years. What pride it gave me in being a doctor, what pride to find work like this in Mexico . . . what pride I found in the hope of these families, and in these children who remind us of the grandeur of the human being created by God," says Dr. Fernando Lorenzo Rego, executive director of the UNESCO Chair in Bioetheics and Human Rights, based in Rome.
Two Spirits A documentary film produced by Russell Martin and directed by Lydia Nibley
Two Spirits was broadcast during the 2010-2011 season of the PBS series "Independent Lens," reaching an audience of millions and receiving the Audience Award as the viewers' favorite among the twenty films broadcast during the series.
The Fred Martinez Project and the documentary film Two Spirits have received the Monette-Horwitz Distinguished Achievement Award for outstanding activism, research, and scholarship to combat homophobia.
Fred Martinez was nadleehi--someone who possesses the gift of both masculine and feminine traits according to his traditional Navajo culture. On a warm summer evening in Cortez, Colorado, Fred hugged his mother, said he would return soon, and left the trailer house in which they lived to attend a rodeo carnival. Fred was sixteen years-old. He dressed as he usually did with a touch of mascara, wearing a small bra stuffed with socks beneath his sweatshirt, and carrying his favorite purse. He spent several hours with friends and then disappeared. His savagely beaten body was found five days later in a shallow canyon near his home.
Two Spirits is grounded in the events foreshadowing the murder, and the terrible reality of what happened on a night when one boy bludgeoned another with rocks, then bragged to friends that he had "bug-smashed a fag." The film asks the question posed by Fred’s mother, “Why are people killed for being who they are?
The film also explores the history of Native two-spirited people and the range of gender expression and sexual identity that has long been seen as a healthy part of many of the indigenous cultures of North America, and of Navajo culture in particular, which recognizes four genders. The first is the feminine woman. The second is the masculine man. The third is the male-bodied person who has a feminine essence—nadleehi. The fourth is the female-bodied person who has a masculine essence—dilbaa. When a child is born, elders seek to support the child in becoming fully who they are, and, in adolescence, the ceremony that marks entry into life as an adult is different for each gender. Quite wonderfully, a nadleeh or dilbaa person receives a combination of the masculine and feminine ceremonies.
In Navajo, nadleehi means “one who is transformed," and as the film traces the ramifications of a murder in the lives of those most affected, we see the possibility to transform bigotry into a respect for the balance of the masculine and feminine as a way of maintaining sacred order. When people are seen as being healthy and whole in any part of the gender and sexuality spectrum, perhaps we can return to the most traditional values.
“Russell Martin's The Sorrow
of Archaeology is
an intelligent, poetic novel with the complex characterization
and layered plotlines of rich literature. . . . a lyrical page-turner
with a knack for grappling with the deeper human questions of self-identity,
personal history, and physical and emotional brokenness.” - Rocky
“Russell Martin has shaped a beautiful novel filled with grace, love,
and wisdom. Digging metaphorically through ruins to create understanding,
The Sorrow of Archaeologyis a tale that powerfully examines cruelty, decency,
dignity, and courage--with emotion that gathers like thunderclouds holding
the promise of rain.” - David Lee, author of Legacy
of Shadows, My Town and So Quietly the Earth
“Russell Martin is a masterful storyteller.” - Bloomsbury Review
Award-winning Beethoven's Hair,
Hair, directed by Larry Weinstein and based on the book by Russell
Martin, has been screened at film festivals throughout the
world, and has aired on television in the U.S., the U.K., France,
Italy, Hong King, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany,
Austria, and the Czech Republic. It is the recipient of three
Gemini awards, and the Festival Director's Prize at the Golden
Prague International Television Film Festival. The film combines
both documentary and dramatic elements to tell the story of
a lock of hair that was cut from Ludwig von Beethoven's corpse and
that has had a remarkable trip through time, including its
role in helping hunted Jews escape Nazi-occupied Denmark.
was produced by Toronto-based Rhombus Media, whose films include Last
Night, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Thirty-two Short
Films About Glenn Gould, September Songs and the Academy
Award-winning The Red Violin.
Picasso's War: The Destruction of Guernica,
And The Masterpiece That Changed the World
"Imaginative cultural historian Martin crafts a well-integrated and fascinating account of Picasso's famous painting and the horrible events that inspired it. The Author's signature approach to seemingly offbeat subjects is careful research filtered through a novelistic sensibility to grasp the inherent story, which he unfolds in the engaging, almost offhand manner of a fictional amateur sleuth. Martin is, first and foremost, a consummate storyteller who deftly weaves such multiple disciplines as politics, history, art, science and even current events into a narrative forming a coherent whole...An engrossing story of a landmark work of art and the struggle 'to fashion meaning out of unimaginable evil, once more to offer hope.'" - Kirkus Reviews
"Martin meticulously describes the painting's creation and context [and] focuses on the controversies that haunted the canvas for decades....Within this larger narrative, he weaves a memoir of his own trek to visit Guernica, which finally arrived in Spain in the 1980s. The culmination of this thread, when Martin coincidentally views the painting on September 11, 2001, brings the narrative into the contemporary world and highlights Guernica's brutal relevance today." - Publishers Weekly
Beethoven's Hair: An Extraordinary Historical Odyssey
And A Scientific Mystery Solved
" A wonderfully gripping and readable narrative...a fascinating story, full of mysteries solved and as yet unsolved." - BBC Music Magazine
"A terrific story. Odd, suspenseful, controversial and ultimately revealing. - Denver Post
"An engrossing tale of an odd subject. First-class history, and a fascinating exposition of forensic science." - Toronto Globe and Mail
"An intriguing and well-told story, a story actually of the path Western cultural life has taken over the past two centuries. It reminds us that the spirit of idealism in Beethoven's music...can spark to life in unaccountable ways and in undreamed-of circumstances." -Kirkus Reviews
"Russell Martin's lively account of the investigations into strands of Beethoven's hair makes for absorbing reading...a lucid narrative that takes on the characteristics of a tightly constructed whodunit." - Sydney Morning Herald
"A wonderful contemplation of how relics can become bridges between people separated by time, culture, and death...an inspiring look at passion in several forms." - Cleveland Plain Dealer
Out of Silence: An Autistic Boy's Journey Into Language and Communication
"A deeply moving rendering of human beings in adversity...Other accounts of the suffering of autism have been published, but few can vie with this one for thoughtfulness, scholarship, and personal accent." - New York Times Book Review
"A wholly remarkable book...Martin leaves us with a deeper understanding of language itself, a richer appreciation of its promise, and a realization that the ability to communicate is a kind of grace." - Los Angeles Times
"From time to time a special book is written that changes one's way of perceiving the self and the world, and that challenges one to rethink what being human really means. Russell Martin has written such a book...It is a book that should become a classic." - Bloomsbury Review
A Story That Stands Like A Dam: Glen Canyon
And The Struggle For The Soul Of The West
"Russell Martin's extraordinary tale of what may prove to be the last big American dam ever built is narrative history as good as it gets. But it is more than that, for in his thoughtful, relentlessly fair analysis of the character of the struggle between the conservation of community and the dam-builders, Martin reveals some of the unmeasured costs that accrue when the dream of human progress is left in the hands of the engineers and the poetry of the landscape is taken from us." - T.H. Watkins
"Martin brings to life the mixed bag of players who, in the fight over Glen Canyon, wrote the very rule book for the cat-and-mouse game that now incessantly pits the forces of development against the defenders of an ever-shrinking trickle of what used to be America's mightiest river...He has done a masterful job." - Chicago Tribune
"This is a crime novel with a body (Glen Canyon), a weapon (the dam), but no simple killer...Read Martin's fine new book. We have needed such a record of the war between our appetites and our dreams, and now we've got it." - Los Angeles Times
Beautiful Islands, a novel
"What a rare, good thing Russell Martin has given us. Beautiful Islands is a story about decent people involved in matters of consequence, a good read and a fine pleasure." - William Kittredge
"Russell Martin knows well the landscape of Colorado and the landscape of the heart. He explores both with graceful precision in this finely crafted novel. Beautiful Islands is tough and strong, intelligent and moving, and always rings true." - Robert Mayer
The Color Orange: A Super Bowl Season With the Denver Broncos
"Martin's observant eye and analytical mind enable him to discuss the team in its socio-cultural context, specifically how and why the Broncos' performance affects not only the direct participants but also the community at large. It's an intelligent look into modern sports by an experienced objective observer." - Booklist
"The Color Orange will keep many Broncos junkies happy for many a winter night. Russell Martin not only captures the Broncos phenomenon, he gives us a wonderful witty slice of Americana as well." - Leon Uris
"The Color Orange is not only a sports book but a story of people, a city, hope, disappointment and, indeed, reality. On top of that, it is beautifully written." - Roger Kahn
Matters Gray and White: A Neurologist, His Patients
And the Mysteries of the Brain
"A Book of fascinating insights into modern medical practices and heartening accounts of individual courage...Martin records with uncommon sensitivity and understanding the clinical work and thoughts of a first-rate physician...It is excellent." - New York Times Book Review
"An honest and moving book that covers a wide swatch and leaves us full of awe." - Washington Post Book World
"Compelling...Martin doesn't merely isolate cases, he weaves them together with the skill of a novelist." - Denver Post
New Writers of the Purple Sage: An Anthology of Contemporary Western Writing
Writers of the Purple Sage: An Anthology of Recent Western Writing
Both edited by Russell Martin
"An anthology of some of the best Western writing of recent years. The book makes it clear that the West abandoned by Hollywood has been taken over by fiction writers of the first rank." - Outside
"A powerful compilation of contemporary short stories by writers who live in the American West. There isn't a misfire in the whole bunch, but my favorites were Ivan Doig's 'Flip' and editor Martin's evocative narrative, 'Cliff Dwellers.'" - Saturday Review
Entering Space: An Astronaut's Odyssey (written with Joseph P. Allen)
"Entering Space is a knowing and scrupulously detailed account of the most ambitious American adventure aloft. It gives a sense of the prosaic minutiae and the dumb-struck wonder of traveling through space." - Time
"The prose is solid and informative, with some standard touches of NASA, gee-whiz awe and just enough conviction that we will remain outward bound." - Discover
"Without exception, it is the finest book yet written on the experience of space travel." - KCBS Universe Magazine
Cowboy: The Enduring Myth of the Wild West
"Martin's text is informative, yet lively, even poetic at times, with just the right touch of sentimentality. It's a huge sprawl of a book, one worth dipping into again and again." - Houston Post
"Colorado-born Martin has created a monumental, synoptic portrait of the cowboy, tracing the amazing evolution of this mythic figure through the early dime novels, on to Wild West shows and rodeos, movies, television, country music and advertising...This is one of the most beautiful books I've ever seen." - San Antonio Express
"The book has it all, from the dime-novel heroes to the rhinestone cowboys. It's masterful." - Denver Post