Mati Diop

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Mati Diop
Born (1982-06-22) 22 June 1982 (age 38)
Paris, France
  • Filmmaker
  • actress
Years active2004–present
Parent(s)Wasis Diop
Christine Brossard
RelativesDjibril Diop Mambéty (uncle)

Mati Diop (born 22 June 1982) is a French actress and film director who starred in the 2008 film 35 Shots of Rum. She also directed the 2019 film Atlantics, for which she became the first black female director to be in contention for the Cannes Film Festival's highest prize, the Palme d'Or.[1][2] At Cannes, Atlantics won the Grand Prix.[3]

Early life[edit]

Diop was born in Paris, France, and is a member of the prominent Senegalese Diop family. Her father is musician Wasis Diop, and her mother, Christine Brossard, is an art buyer. She is the niece of prominent Senegalese filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambéty.


Mati Diop trained at Le Fresnoy National Studio of Contemporary Art in France, as well as at The Palais de Tokyo in their experimental artist studio space Le Pavillon.[4]

Diop studied at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study from 2014 to 2015.[4] While a part of the institute's selective Film Study Center Fellowship Program, she wrote the script for her first feature film Fire, Next Time.[4] She later changed the title of this film to what is now known as her directorial feature film debut, Atlantics (2019).[5]



Mati Diop made her Directorial debut in 2004. Her short film Atlantiques (2009) won the Rotterdam International Film Festival's Tiger Award for Short Film, and a Top Prize at Media City Film Festival during her first North American appearance in 2009.

Her documentary short A Thousand Suns was released in 2013. The film focused on actor Magaye Niang, who was the star of Diop's uncle's seminal feature Touki Bouki (1973) and explained how he had come to live as a farmer in the intervening years.[6] The film played at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and was later also programmed at the Museum of Modern Art in 2014.[7]

In 2019, she became the first black female director to have her film premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival when her feature debut Atlantics (Atlantique) was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or.[5] She was one of only four women accepted into the festival in the given year.[1] The film was a fictional adaptation of her documentary short Atlantiques made in 2009 that followed two friends from Senegal as they made a life-threatening boat crossing to Europe.[8] The film won the Grand Prix. It was picked up by Netflix shortly following Cannes' award announcements.[9]

Diop directed a documentary, In My Room, as part of Miu Miu's Women's Tales series, which blended audio recordings of her maternal grandmother, Maji, with footage she shot of herself in her Parisian apartment during the time she was quarantined during the 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic.

Mati Diop's work has also been featured at the Venice Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, the BFI London Film Festival in 2012, and the Valdivia International Film Festival,[4] as well as the Museum of the Moving Image in 2013.[7]


Diop made her acting debut in Claire Denis' film 35 Shots of Rum (2008), playing the lead role of a young woman in a close-knit relationship with her father, whom she has trouble leaving as she gets ready for marriage. She received a nomination for the Lumières Award for most promising actress for her role in the film.[7] In 2012, she appeared in the film Simon Killer and was also credited with the story behind the script.[10] Diop continued to act sporadically in films and television until 2016.[11]


(As Actress)

  • 35 Shots of Rum (2008)
  • Yoshido (Les autres vies)
  • A History of Mutual Respect (2010) short
  • La collection (2011) TV series
  • Sleepwalkers (2011)
  • Un autre monde (2011) TV movie
  • Simon Killer (2012)
  • For Buchanan: Hiver (2012) short
  • L for Leisure (2014)
  • Fort Buchanan (2014)
  • Hermia & Helena (2016)[11]

(As Cinematographer)

  • Atlantiques (2009) documentary short
  • Sleepwalkers (2011)
  • Big in Vietnam (2012) short
  • Mille Soleils (2013) documentary short
  • Liberian Boy (2015) short[11]

(As Director)

  • Atlantiques (2009) documentary short
  • Snow Canon (2011) short
  • Big in Vietnam (2012) short
  • Mille Soleils (2013) documentary short
  • Les 18 du 57, Boulevard de Strasbourg (2014) short (co-director)
  • Liberian Boy (2015) short (co-directed with Manon Lutanie)
  • Atlantics (2019)[11][12][13]
  • In My Room| (2020) documentary short

(As Writer)


  1. ^ a b "Meet the First Black Female Director in the Cannes Competition". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  2. ^ Page, Thomas (2019-05-21). "Cannes 2019: 'Atlantics' director Mati Diop is the first black female contender for the Palme d'Or". CNN Style. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  3. ^ Turan, Kenneth. "Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' and Mati Diop's 'Atlantics' make history at Cannes Film Festival". Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  4. ^ a b c d "Mati Diop". Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. 2014-04-22. Retrieved 2020-02-27.
  5. ^ a b Obenson, Tambay. "Meet the First Black Woman in the Cannes Competition Lineup: Mati Diop". IndieWire. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  6. ^ Scott, A. O. "Stuck, but Trying to Leave". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  7. ^ a b c "Mati Diop". YBCA. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  8. ^ Picard, Andréa. "Film/Art : In the Realm of the Senses: Mati Diop on Mille soleils". Cinema Scope. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  9. ^ Obenson, Tambay (2019-05-25). "'Atlantics': Netflix's Aggressive Africa Push Continues With Acquisition of Cannes Grand Prix Winner". IndieWire. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  10. ^ Lavallée, Eric. "Interview: Mati Diop (Simon Killer)". Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Mati Diop". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  12. ^ Kohn, Eric (2019-05-16). "'Atlantics' Review: Mati Diop's Dazzling Ghost Story About the Refugee Crisis — Cannes". IndieWire. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  13. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (2019-05-15). "Cannes: Mati Diop's 'Atlantics' Unveils Clip Ahead of Competition". Variety. Retrieved 2019-05-31.

External links[edit]