Oscars: Senegal Taps Mati Diop’s ‘Atlantics’ for International Feature Film Entry

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Senegal has selected Mati Diop’s “Atlantics” as the country’s official entry for the best international feature film category at the 92nd Academy Awards.

“Atlantics” premiered in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the Grand Prix. The film is Diop’s feature directorial debut and marked the first time a film directed by a black woman competed for the Palme d’Or at Cannes.

Set in Senegal, the film initially follows the blossoming love between a young construction worker who’s being exploited by his rich boss (Ibrahima Traoré) and a woman (Mama Sané) who is about to enter into an unwanted arranged marriage with a wealthier man. The protagonist and his fed-up coworkers soon disappear during an attempt to migrate to Spain.

The film also screened at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival, where Diop was awarded the inaugural Mary Pickford Award, recognizing emerging female talent. “Atlantics” will also screens at the BFI London Film Festival, and will debut in the U.S. at the New York Film Festival next week.

Netflix acquired worldwide rights on the film (excluding China, Benelux, Switzerland, Russia, and France) following its debut at Cannes. The film will be released in select theaters on Nov. 15, and on Netflix on Nov. 29. Producers are Les Films du Bal, Cinekap and Frakas.