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Variety is teaming with Unifrance, an agency that promotes French cinema around the world, to focus attention on four emerging talents in the French movie industry as part of Unifrance’s “New Faces of French Cinema” program. Here Variety profiles the rising filmmakers: Justine Triet, Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec, Hafsia Herzi and Mati Diop.
Born to a family of musicians and filmmakers, raised in France, and trained at the Le Fresnoy National Studio of Contemporary Arts, Diop has already built an impressive track record on the international circuit.
Films - Festivals - Marseille - Venice - Montreal
She’s taken her short- and medium-length films to festivals in Marseille, Venice and Montreal, collecting prizes left, right and center, and has starred in acclaimed works from directors including Claire Denis and Antonio Campos.
This year she’ll make history as the first black female filmmaker to compete for the Palme d’Or with her feature debut, “Atlantics.” She said she was pleased to be the first black woman filmmaker in Cannes Competition. The film serves as both an extension and companion piece to her 2009 short “Atlantiques,” which won the prize for short film at the Rotterdam fest.
Diop - Director - Statement - Cannes - Debut
As Diop describes in her director’s statement, her Cannes debut “is a film about being haunted, being spellbound, and the idea that ghosts are created within us.”
As filmmaker, Diop has often contended with her own background and family heritage. With her 2013 doc “A Thousand Suns” she considered the impact of “Touki Bouki,” a landmark of Senegalese cinema that was directed by her uncle Djibril Diop Mambéty, and that took home the Critics’ Award in Cannes 1973.
Atlantics - Shares - Charge - Story - Film
As she describes it, “Atlantics” shares an equally personal charge, even if the story isn’t precisely her own. “A first film is often autobiographical, even indirectly,” Diop writes. “Inventing the character of Ada was also a way of having the experience, through fiction, of the African...
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