Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey, Co-Heads of TIFF, today announced director Mati Diop as the inaugural recipient of the Mary Pickford Award supported by MGM, to be presented at the TIFF Tribute Gala on Monday, September 9. The award, named in honour of Toronto native Mary Pickford, recognizes an emerging female talent who is making groundbreaking strides in the industry. Pickford was the pioneering actor, producer, and Co-Founder of United Artists, and the award is being launched in conjunction with United Artists’ centennial this year. The creation of the award follows TIFF’s continued commitment to championing women and diverse voices in front of and behind the camera.
“We’re thrilled to honour the incredible Mati Diop as our inaugural Mary Pickford Award recipient, as United Artists marks its centennial year. She is a vibrant and important new voice within the industry and one to watch closely.”Joana Vicente, Executive Director and Co-Head of TIFF
“Mati Diop’s film Atlantics is a profound and unsettling work of art. We know this is just the start for such an original and authentic voice, and we’re delighted to celebrate her success at this year’s TIFF Tribute Gala.”Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head of TIFF
“Like Mary Pickford, Mati Diop has demonstrated her trial-blazing influence both in front of and behind the camera, making her the ideal inaugural awardee. We look forward to partnering with TIFF to honor Pickford’s legacy and United Artists in celebration of their 100th year.”Jonathan Glickman, President of MGM Studios’ Motion Picture Group
She has directed the short films Atlantiques, Big in Vietnam, and the documentary A Thousand Suns — all of which played the Festival — as well as Snow Canon and Liberian Boy. A Thousand Suns was presented by Claire Denis in 2013 as part of TIFF’s year-round Cinematheque program. In 2019, Diop became the first Black female director to screen a film in competition at the Cannes Film Festival with her debut feature Atlantics, which was based on the short Atlantiques and went on to win the prestigious Grand Prix at the festival. The film, written by Diop and Olivier Demangel, stars Mama Sané, Amadou Mbow, Ibrahima Traoré, Nicole Sougou, Amina Kane, Mariama Gassama, Coumba Dieng, Ibrahima Mbaye, and Diankou Sembene. Atlantics will have its North American Premiere at TIFF and will be released by Netflix later this year. The film is produced by Les Films du Bal, Cinekap and FraKas.
TIFF previously announced that three-time Academy Award–winning actor Meryl Streep will receive the TIFF Tribute Actor Award sponsored by RBC; three-time Academy Award–nominated actor Joaquin Phoenix will receive the TIFF Tribute Actor Award; Taika Waititi will receive the TIFF Ebert Director Award; Participant Media will receive the TIFF Impact Award, accepted by Founder and Chairman Jeff Skoll and CEO David Linde; and Academy Award–winning cinematographer Roger Deakins will receive with the Variety Artisan Award.
The 44th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 5–15, 2019.