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French-Senegalese Director Becomes First Black Female Director To Win Award At Cannes Film Festival

Mati Diop, a French-Senegalese actress and director, has become the first black female director to win an award in Cannes Film Festival’s 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 Grand Prix award, bestowed by the jury of the festival on one of the competing feature films, is the second-most prestigious prize of the festival after the Palme d’Or.

The 36-year-old, however, 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.

“I knew it as I obviously don’t know any black women who came here before, and I knew it but it’s always a reminder that so much work needs to be done still,” she said.

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho also made history for clinching the ‘Palme d’Or’, most prestigious award at Cannes.

The 2019 edition held from May 14 to 25, with Nigeria and other African countries holding the Pavillon Afriques, a platform where filmmakers, investor and other stakeholders meet to discuss the business of film making on the continent.


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