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Magnum Photos announces first UK-based Film Festival, Refocusing the Lens: from the Centre to the Margins

This summer, as part of its 75th-anniversary celebrations and in partnership with the BFI and Rio Cinema, Magnum presents an interrogation of its photojournalistic archives via film in a series of screenings and discussions. 

Magnum Photos is hosting its first UK Film Festival: Refocusing the Lens: from the Centre to the Margins from 30 July 30–3 August at the Rio Cinema in Dalston, London. The festival presents an interrogation of Magnum’s 75-year archive through five film screenings and discussions, each zooming in on issues of ethics, underrepresentation, and positionality behind the lens.

Organised as part of BFI’s Film Feels Curious, a UK-wide cinema season, the programme explores photojournalism and the urge to document global issues through the lens of curiosity — conscious of the outrage, empathy, and moral compulsion that drives the profession, as well as the voyeuristic, exploitative, and detached aspects that can accompany its undertaking.

The festival showcases work by four Magnum photographers from four locations: Khalik Allah in the USA, Chris Steele-Perkins in East Africa, Susan Meiselas in Central America, and Patrick Zachmann in the Mediterranean. Each film will be shown alongside relevant works by a wide range of local filmmakers.

The festival ties into the agency’s 75th-anniversary celebrations — centred around the theme ‘In Dialogue’ — and delivers a programme that offers layered perspectives on the same events and locations in a manner that questions, rather than accepts, traditionally privileged gazes. Each screening will be followed by an audience discussion session, led by acclaimed thinkers and professionals across the cultural sphere such as Zoé Samudzi, Dr. Errol Francis, Onyeka Igwe, Jamie Davis, Taous R. Dahmani, Dr. Arthur Asseraf, and Ileana Selejan. Bayryam Bayryamali & Abiba Coulibaly, festival organisers, state: “In our first film festival in London, we wanted to offer audiences a peek into the diverse collection of work produced by Magnum photographers across various continents. By pairing each film with work produced by a local filmmaker, the programme aims to examine the complexities and challenges of representation, the
power of the camera, and il/legitimate agents writing, shaping and sharing histories.

Find the full festival programme here. Tickets are now available to purchase on the Rio Cinema website.

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