Mati Diop’s ‘Atlantics’ Aims To Make History (Again) After Being Submitted By Senegal For Oscar Race

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Mati Diop’s Atlantics, the feature debut that won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival this year, has been submitted by Senegal to compete for the 2020 International Feature Film Oscar.

The film already made history when Diop became the first black female director to be selected to compete for the Palme d’Or in Cannes, and could do so again by becoming the first project from Senegal to get nominated by the Academy for its foreign language prize.

Features submitted by African nations have been nominated in the category nine times before, with three wins: Z (Algeria, 1969); Black And White In Colour (Ivory Coast, 1976); and Tsotsi (South Africa, 2005).

Atlantics is a France-Senegal-Belgium co-production and was filmed in Wolof, a language primarily spoken in Senegal, as well as French and English. Producers are Les Films du Bal, Cinekap and Frakas. The movie depicts the blossoming love between young construction worker Souleiman (Ibrahima Traoré), who’s being exploited by his rich boss, and Ada (Mama Sané), about to enter into an unwanted arranged marriage with a wealthier man.

Netflix acquired worldwide rights (excluding China, Benelux, Switzerland, Russia, and France) to the title following its Cannes debut. It also screened in Toronto, winning the inaugural Mary Pickford Award, which recognizes emerging female talent, for Diop.

The film will have an awards-qualifying theatrical run from November 15 in the U.S. and will debut on the platform November 29.

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