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Meet Mati Diop, first black female director to direct a film featured in the Cannes’ competition section

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Born in Paris, France, Diop is a member of prominent Senegalese Diop family. Her father is musician Wasis Diop and her uncle is the acclaimed Senegalese filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambéty.

A French-Senegalese actress and film director, Mati Diop starred in the 2008 film 35 Shots of Rum and directed her “breathtaking” feature debut, “Atlantics”, which has emerged as “one of contemporary cinema’s most bracing and distinctive voices”.  It made history when it premiered at Cannes in 2019, winning the Grand Prix. Diop became the first Black woman to direct a film featured in the festival’s Competition section. “Atlantics” was also selected as Senegal’s entry for Best International Film Oscar consideration, making the December shortlist.

Diop is distinguished for her documentary-fiction hybrid works that explore themes of cultural identity, exile, displacement, memory and loss.  In “A Thousand Suns”, her acclaimed homage to her uncle Djibril Diop Mambéty’s iconic film “Touki Bouki” (1973), she explores the intimate and collective heritage of the film, which won awards in several international film festivals, including the FID Marseille international film festival.

Diop’s newest film, “In My Room,” available to stream worldwide following its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 6. The 20-minute film is “part of an ongoing series of short films commissioned by Miu Miu, titled Women’s Tales, which embraces the “many complexities and contradictions” that make up the experiences of women in the 21st century”.