WINDSOR, ON – The Cannes Film Festival made history this weekend. On Saturday French-Senegalese director, and Media City Award Alumni, Mati Diop became the first black female director to win an award in the Cannes Film Festival’s 72-year history. She was also the first black female contender for the festival’s coveted Palme d’Or, ultimately earning the Grand Prix for her film Atlantics.
Mati Diop’s first North American appearance and one of her very first awards happened in Windsor, Ontario at Media City Film Festival in 2010. Visiting from France with her first film Atlantique (2009), the director was awarded Media City’s Second Prize from the International Competition Jury. Watch Diop briefly describe her visit to Media City and her experience of Windsor: https://vimeo.com/122141197
This is not the first time Media City alumni have made waves at Cannes. Thai Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul won the Palme d’Or for his feature film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives in 2010. Media City was an early champion of Weerasethakul’s work, screening his short films including Malee and the Boy in 2000. Work by Mr. Weerasethakul was also included in Media City’s most recent 23rd edition.
Media City Film Festival is well known amongst international cognoscenti as a “discovery festival” with a very long list of award winning filmmakers making their first, and many returning, appearances at this unique cross-border event.
Last September, Chilean-Canadian filmmaker Malena’s Szlam’s Media City commissioned film ALTIPLANO had its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. ALTIPLANO has since been screening at venues worldwide, including MoMA and Lincoln Centre’s New Directors / New Films. The film was named one of Canada’s Top Ten films by TIFF and was recently featured in Artforum.
ALTIPLANO is one of several films now nearing completion that Media City has commissioned as part of Underground Mines, a tour and commissioning project that promotes Canadian cinema and exchange in South America outside of festival time.
Ephraim Asili’s award winning made in Windsor-Detroit film Fluid Frontiers was also showcased as part of Media City last year at Windsor’s historic Sandwich First Baptist Church, an important terminal on the underground railroad, with local cast in attendance as covered here in the Windsor Star. Asili is another director to keep an eye on as he works to complete his first feature film this year.
Media City Film Festival Director, Oona Mosna is excited by the news coming from France: “Mati Diop is a formidable voice in contemporary cinema. Media City is thrilled but not surprised to hear of her win at Cannes. We’ve been cheering for her all the way.”
Media City is currently accepting submissions for its 24th edition which will take place November 13-16, 2019 at the Capitol Theatre & Arts Centre and other venues in Windsor-Detroit.