Director Mati Diop Becomes First Black Woman to Win at Cannes Film
French-Senagalese director Mati Diop has become the first black female director to win an award in Cannes’ 72-year history.
Diop took home the Grand Prix – the equivalent of a silver prize – for her film Atlantique, a Senegalese drama about sexual politics among young migrants.
Along the Atlantic coast, a soon-to-be-inaugurated futuristic tower looms over a suburb of Dakar. Ada, 17, is in love with Souleiman, a young construction worker. But she has been promised to another man. One night, Souleiman and his co-workers leave the country by sea, in hope of a better future. Several days later, a fire ruins Ada’s wedding and a mysterious fever starts to spread. Little does Ada know that Souleiman has returned.
Watch extracts from Atlantique HERE
The 36-year-old had previously said she was a “little sad” to make history as the first woman of African descent to even have a film screened at the festival.
“It’s pretty late and it’s incredible that it is still relevant,” she said at the time.
“My first feeling to be the first black female director was a little sadness that this only happened today in 2019.
”I knew it as I obviously don’t know any black women who came here before. I knew it but it’s always a reminder that so much work needs to be done still.”