Q INTERVIEW | Author and filmmaker Martyn Burke

The Toronto filmmaker behind Under Fire: Journalists in Combat talks about the increasing stress of war reporting and how his doc became an Oscar contender.
Reuters photographer Finbarr O'Reilly is shown in Libya. The documentary Under Fire looks at journalists in conflict zones. (CBC Documentary Channel)

Toronto filmmaker and author Martyn Burke’s Under Fire: Journalists in Combat is one of 15 films in the running for a best documentary Oscar in 2012.

Commissioned by the CBC Documentary Channel, the film highlights how reporting from war zones has become increasingly traumatic and can have a long-term effect on the journalists themselves.

Burke is the author of six novels and his film credits include documentaries such as Idi Amin: My People Love Me and Carnivals as well as features like Pirates of Silicon Valley, Top Secret and Avenging Angelo.

For Under Fire, he worked with a Toronto psychiatrist specializing in treating journalists who get in trouble in war zones and have trouble readapting to ordinary life.

In an interview with Jim Brown, guest host of CBC's Q cultural affairs show, Burke discusses his own start as a correspondent during the Vietnam War, how reporting from conflict zones has become increasingly stressful and how his film ended up as an Oscar contender.

The five finalists for the Academy Award for best documentary will be announced Jan. 24.