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Tribeca Films Escape with Nguyen’s “War Witch”; Label Grabs Own Fest Winner

After it claimed a pair of prizes (Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film Award and World Narrative Competition Award) at the Tribeca Film Festival, Kim Nguyen’s War Witch (Rebelle) will not have traveled far from its North American premiere location as Tribeca Films have grabbed the U.S. rights to the drama. Perhaps the best candidate for Canada’s Foreign Oscar nomination bid, the distributor is eying an early 2013 release.

Gist: Tribeca Film Fest director Frederic Boyer describes this as “a poignant and harrowing portrait of Komona, a 14-year-old girl (Rachel Mwanza) who has been kidnapped from her African village by rebels to become a child soldier. She escapes from the camp with an older albino soldier and experiences for the very first time the joys of a peaceful and loving life, but a fresh tragedy will force her to confront and fight the ghosts haunting her mind.

Worth Noting: Non-professional actress Rachel Mwanza won the Best Actress award at the Berlin Film Festival before doubling up at Tribeca.

Do We Care?: Belonging to the family of harrowing films dealing with child soldiers such as Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s Johnny Mad Dog and Claire Denis’ White Material, this Canadian import might be the more “exportable” one.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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