In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the legendary agency Magnum Photos, the Berlin International Film Festival and Magnum present a rare opportunity to view films by and about its outstanding photographers. The Berlinale will present with Magnum in Motion a programme of documentaries, biographies, short films and photo essays. The film series is the first ever collective screening of this body of work.
“You cannot disregard the importance of Magnum for the visual memory and the history of photography of our times”, says Berlinale-Director Dieter Kosslick. “It is great that we now can present the film works of these wonderful photo reporters and artists to our Berlinale audience.”
Founded in 1947 by Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David “Chim” Seymour, Magnum Photos opened a new chapter in the history of photojournalism. The agency was established as a co-operative finding strength and independence in the editorial market by combining resources and recognising the photographers as owners of their own copyright. Today, Magnum continues to be wholly governed by its members and is probably the longest running artists’ co-operative in the world.
In the words of Cartier-Bresson “Magnum is a community of thought, a shared human quality, a curiosity about what is going on in the world, a respect for what is going on, and a desire to transcribe it visually. ”
Magnum photographers have sought to document the major events of their time and woven within the tragedy of conflict, famine, disease and disaster is a celebration of life, love, friends and humour, honouring both the man in the street and the leading figures of the day.
The list of Magnum members reads like the who’s who of photography and many are famous for their images from the world of cinema, but the fact that many of them also worked with films is less known – with the exception of the filmmaker Raymond Depardon. Many members have turned their talents to film: from the founding generation of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, René Burri and Eve Arnold through to Thomas Hoepker, Donovan Wylie, Susan Meiselas, to name just a few.
“From still photography through to the moving image, by way of the animated photo essay, different forms of story telling has always been the passion of Magnum photographers. The Berlinale has provided a unique opportunity to bring this different facet of the photographers’ work to the public attention and in the context of a major international festival to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Magnum Photos”, says Dominique Green, director of Magnum Photos, London.
The Berlinale and Magnum will present over 30 films for Magnum in Motion. The selection contains shorts and feature length films by and about the photographers, as well as documentaries about the agency and its individual members. Many of the photographers will be present at the screenings to introduce their work and answer questions from the audience.
”Jean Gaumy might talk about sharing very little space for several months in a submarine with young French marines“, says Alrun Steinrueck, the curator of the programme, ”Elliott Erwitt could describe how he followed a passionate and strict lady who trained teenagers in becoming well groomed cheerleaders or we might get lucky and hear a personal story about James Dean from Dennis Stock.“
The full programme will be completed in early December 2006 (www.berlinale.de / www.magnumphotos.com). In addition to screening the films a brochure and DVD of Magnum in Motion photo-essays will be released. On occasion of the film series the Berlin gallery Camera Work will present a photo exhibition from February 9 to 24, 2007 with work by Magnum photographers.
After its premiere at the Berlinale Magnum in Motion will travel to other film festivals including Guadalajara (Mexico) and New York.
November 3, 2006