Atlantics, winner of the Grand Prix Award at this week’s Cannes Film Festival, was bought by Netflix. This film was the feature debut of director Mati Diop, who made history as the first woman of African descent to have a film in the festival’s competition category. Along with director Ladj Ly, who directed the drama Les Misérables, they were the only two individuals with African roots competing at Cannes.
The film follows workers in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, who are not getting paid for the construction project they are working on. They decide to abandon this endeavor and seek a better future elsewhere. The cast stars Abdou Balde, Aminata Kane, Ibrahima Mbaye, Amadou Mbow, Mame Bineta Sane, Nicole Sougou, and Traore.
This acquisition aligns with Netflix’s wish to feature more African films created by African filmmakers. This embodies the streaming platform’s goal to be more involved on a global scale. In 2016, Netflix began streaming in Africa. This has especially helped the Nigerian film industry, with film studio EbonyLife Films benefitting from Netflix’s presence by selling the rights to its film Chief Daddy.
In an article by Bloomberg Business, Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife, stated that “As a continent, Africa has remained creatively silent for centuries, our stories are seldom told outside of our families and villages and often from the perspective of someone looking in. Now is a good opportunity for more capital to be pumped into Nollywood.” Netflix will help increase African film exposure and help films have a longer economic life by reaching beyond the influences of the pirated DVD market.
This news was reported by Indiewire.