Director Mati Diop is creating art, and shattering glass ceilings for women of color in cinema.
On Saturday May 25, 2019 French-Senegalese director Mati Diop became the first black female director to win an award in the Cannes Film Festival’s 72-year history. She also was the first black woman to ever have a film accepted for competition at the festival. Diop, took home the Grand Prix award,(equivalent of a bronze medal/ third place prize) for her film Atlantics. The movie is a Senegalese-set drama that combines social consciousness with the supernatural in a tale of sexual politics among young migrants.
The Hollywood Reporter snagged a quote with Diop which we share with you now: “Diop is one of four female directors in the festival’s 21-film lineup, still a low percentage but a marked improvement from recent years, when the festival came under fire for its lack of female representation. Her inclusion marks another significant milestone: She is the first black female director to be accepted into the competition lineup in the festival’s 72-year history — a fact Diop was not aware of until she saw it reported online. “I discovered it myself, reading the article,” she says. “It was a rather odd experience for me because I approached it almost as somebody learning this, as an outsider. What I represent exceeds me and does not belong to me.” ”