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Black director makes history at Cannes

MAKING HISTORY: Mati Diop

FRENCH-SENGALESE director Mati Diop has made history after she became the first black female director in competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

Her film, Atlantics, tells the haunting tale of a group of boys lost at sea off the coast of Dakar, seen through the eyes of a troubled young Muslim woman, Dana.

It is the first film made by a woman of African descent to be screened in the festival's 72 year history, and Diop has said she feels “moved” but a “little sad” at the achievement.

"It's pretty late and it's incredible that it is still relevant," she said.

"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."


PICTURED: Aminata Kane, Amadou Mbow, Mati Diop, Mame Sane, Nicole Sougou and Mariama Gassama attend the "Atlantics" Photocall during the 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 2019 in Cannes, France

She added: "As a black woman I really missed black figures and black characters. It's why I needed to make this film, I needed to see black people on screen - it was an urgent need.

Diop said she hopes her film will help improve black female representation on the screen.

"When you feel your own little story meets the bigger story, the feeling is that it doesn't belong to you, which is quite moving really.

"If for some young black female film directors I can represent a new dynamic, I'm obviously extremely happy.

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