Mati Diop Is the First Black Woman Nominated for the Palme d'Or Film Prize
Senegalese-French filmmaker Mati Diop has made film history as the first black woman to compete for the Palme d'Or Film Prize during this year's 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival. Not only is she the first Black woman to be nominated for this extremely prestigious prize, she is also one of four female directors showing during the festival's 21-film lineup. Although this may appear to be a low percentage, it is still an imporevemt for the film industry, which has historically marginalized women, and in particular, women of color. Mati was quite happy about the news of her acceptance but still expressed sadness over the overall lack of representation in the film industry.
After a joyous and energetic strut down the Cannes red carpet, Mati premiered her debut film Atlantics. According to OkayAfrica, the film "tells the story of a young woman from Dakar whose lover has mysteriously disappeared. Believed to be dead, he returns to the Senegalese village." Her film truly embodies a work of art with the stunning cinematography which allows the audience to easily feel the emotions that the characters are portraying. The film industry has had many issues with being inclusive and diverse so her focus on "Black stories" is a deliberate attempt to add more people of color on the big screen.
Watch a clip of Mati Diop's debut feature film Atlantics below.