Female Filmmaker Friday: Mati Diop, First Black Female Director to Win the Grand Prix at Cannes
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"I think it's sad that in 2019 I'm still the first black [woman]...we really need more people."
At the end of the Cannes Film Festival, the Grand Prix prize went to Senegalese-French director Mati Diop who was the first black woman to be included in the competition in the festival's history.
Mati Diop comes from a family of artists, being the daughter of jazz-folk musician Wasis Diop. She has directed several short films before making Atlantics (based on her short film Atlantique); the story about construction workers on a futuristic tower in the populous city of Dakar, who haven't been paid for months. They decide to leave the country in order to find a better future. A young girl follows in order to find her love, who has gone missing. The story is about immigration, love, and refugees in a time where all the above are under fire. Representation is important to Diop, saying in a recent interview that she missed seeing black characters on screen.
It's important for everyone to feel like their stories are being told, and marginalized people have less opportunities to feel part of the film community. With this win, however, hopefully more people will take note of stories being told by women, women of color, and other ethnicities around the world.
Netflix has recently acquired the rights to Atlantics, so it will be available to more people around the world to view. Dates of release have yet to be set.