Celebrating Diversity - Rewarding Excellence

2017 Outstanding Contribution Award

Isaach De Bankolé, César award winning (BLACK MIC MAC) French/African actor, who is also a recipient of French Legion D’Honneur, was born on the Ivory Coast. Mr. De Bankolé has an extensive filmography, and in 2011, the Museum of Art and Design, in association with the Alliance Francaise in New York presented a month long career survey of his work.

Isaach is currently in production on the first African American Marvel Feature film BLACK PANTHER. Mr De Bankolé’s reent releases include Breck Eisner’s THE LAST WITCH HUNTER and Rudolph Buitendijks’ mulitple film fest winner WHERE THE ROAD RUNS OUT. Upcoming is Ernest Dickerson’s DOUBLE PLAY and Joseph Cedar’s NORMAN alongside Richard Gere.

Other ecent releases include Andrew Dousomu’s MOTHER OF GEORGE (Sundance 2013), in which he starred alongside Danai Gurira, Philippe LaCote’s RUN (Cannes, 2014) shot in Isaach’s native Ivory Coast, John McDonough’s CALVARY (Berlin, 2014) opposite Brendan Gleeson, , and Szabolics Hadju’s MIRAGE in which Mr. De Bankolé stars as a famous soccer player on the run in remote Hungary after being accused of fixing a game.

Other notable recent films include Lavinia Currier’s OKA! (Telluride 2010), shot in the Central African Republic, and Gabriel Range’s I AM SLAVE (Toronto Film Festival 2010), about a Sudanese father’s search for his daughter who has been abducted from the Sudan to be a slave in London.

Among a huge list of impressive credits are Claire Denis’ critically acclaimed WHITE MATERIAL, Cannes and BAFTA award winning film THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERLY, directed by Julian Schnabel, and Jim Jarmusch’s LIMITS OF CONTROL in which Mr De Bankolé plays the lead role of a mysterious hit man, with a supporting cast that includes Gael Garcia Bernal, Tilda Swinton, and Bill Murray.

Isaach was seen in the James Bond film CASINO ROYALE playing Obanno, head of the Lords Resistance Army, and his character is credited with being the “first villain to bloody Bond!” He has also appeared in such US films as Michael Mann’s MIAMI VICE, THE GUITAR (Sundance 2007) in which he stars opposite Saffron Burrows, Stuart Townsend’s directorial debut BATTLE IN SEATTLE, and Amir Mann’s THE FIFTH PATIENT. Isaach also starred in Lars von Trier’s sequel to DOGVILLE, MANDERLAY, alongside Bryce Dallas Howard and Danny Glover. Isaach was discovered by a French Film director on the streets of Paris while studying to be an airline pilot.

He received his masters degree in Mathematics from the Jussieu Paris Sept, and went to the drama school “LES COURS SIMON”. He received critical acclaim for his performance in Claire Denis’ CHOCOLAT in 1988, followed by many roles in popular French films such as S’EN FOUT LA MORT, LES KEUFS, and VANILLE FRAISE.

He has also starred in many international films, including OTOMO (Germany), HOW TO MAKE LOVE TO A NEGRO WITHOUT GETTING TIRED (Canada), BATTU (Africa), Pedro Costa’s CASA DE LAVA (Portugal), and Nicholas Roeg’s English film version of HEART OF DARKNESS where he co-starred with John Malkovich and Tim Roth.

Isaach is a favorite actor of cult indie director Jim Jarmusch, and in addition to his star turn in LIMITS OF CONTROL, he has appeared in Jarmusch’s GHOST DOG: WAY OF THE SAMURAI, NIGHT ON EARTH, and COFFEE AND CIGARETTES alongside Cate Blanchett and Bill Murray.

Other American films include THE KEEPER, Merchant-Ivory’s A SOLDIER’S DAUGHTER NEVER CRIES, THE KILLING ZONE, SKELETON KEY, STAY, and the lead in SLAMDANCE 2004’s winner for Best Narrative Feature HOMEWORK, which also screened at the Tribeca film festival, which he also produced. Isaach directed the documentary TRAVELING MILES, documenting the 1998-touring schedule of jazz singer Cassandra Wilson in Australia and New Zealand.

Television credits include guest starring roles on such shows as WHITE COLLAR, THE GOOD WIFE, THE SOPRANOS, and a large guest arc on the 2009 season of 24.. Isaach has graced the stages of Paris in such plays as QUAI OUEST, DANS LA SOLITUDE DES CHAMPS DE COTON, LE RETOUR AU DESERT, MARTIN LUTHER KING OU LA FORCE D’AIMER, and he toured Africa and France in his one man show MA VIE DANS LA BROUSSE DES FANTOMES (MY LIFE IN THE BUSH OF GHOSTS).

On the New York stage, he appeared alongside Lili Taylor in Wallace Shawn’s AUNT DAN AND LEMON.

Mr. De Bankolé has three films in preparation to direct, two of which he has written, ONE WAY TICKET, a mystical African tale loosely based on his experiences living in New York City, MY NAME IS NOBODY, tracking a mysterious hitman through the backroads of the Ivory Coast, and a trilogy of short films to be shot in Africa which have been written and will be exec produced by longtime collaborator Jim Jarmusch.