A Historic 72nd Cannes Film Festival

Bong Joon-ho’s ‘Parasite’ and Mati Diop’s ‘Atlantics’ make history at Cannes Film Festival

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 Atlantics, a Senegalese drama about sexual politics among young migrants. 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.

“My first feeling to be the first black female director was a little sadness that this only happened today in 2019.”

Still from Atlantics
Actor: Mame Bineta Sane

“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.” (The Independent).

SO HYPED for Mati Diop — Atlantics looks like a stunner. And just today, she sold her feature-film debut’s international distribution rights to Netflix, and it seems the streaming giant is going to push hard for Diop’s crowning jewel. However, this “historic moment” took too long to happen, and I’m glad Diop called that out right away when being interviewed by the press. It’s pathetic and disrespectful on Cannes part. 72 years?!?! Really, how is that even possible? We don’t want to hear the “we pick the best” bullshit. No one should be patting themselves on the back — looking at you Gilles Jacob.

SUGGESTION CANNES: How about an intentional attempt moving forward to ensure representation is actively a priority when selecting films to screen on the biggest international platform for filmmakers? Again, looking at your Gilles Jacob.

Still, I am very excited and happy for Mati Diop, and can’t wait to see her film. #MakeYourMark

History continued to be made at this year’s fest

Writer/Director Bong Joon Ho (Okja) helmed Parasite, the first South Korean film to win the Palme d’Or aka highest of all honors at Cannes Film Festival. It is equivalent to the Best Picture prize at the Oscars —but more importantly a major platform for unique cinematic voices.

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