By Posted on: Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Oscar-nominated Canadian film to screen at the LSPU Hall

The story in the film Rebelle (War Witch) was enough to earn it a nomination for an Academy Award this year.

But the story behind the film is also worthy of an Oscar.

Rebelle (War Witch) is about a young Congolese girl named Komona, who is recounting her life story to her unborn child. It’s quite a tale.

Komona was once a child soldier in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who, with the help of “magic milk,” premonitions, a warlord, and an albino, manages to escape her gruelling life at war.

The film was directed by Quebec-born Kim Nguyen and co-produced by Marie-Claude Poulin and Pierre Even.

Rebelle (War Witch) is up for the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film.

Abandoned by her parents, the film’s 16-year-old star, Rachel Mwanza, lived on the streets of Kinshasa, the capital City of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She had no previous acting experience before her role in Rebelle (War Witch), which won her a Silver Bear Award for best actress at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.

Nguyen told the CBC that Mwanza is “the most talented actress [he] has ever worked with.”
The film’s producers have promised to pay for her education and room and board in Kinshasa until she is 18 years old. They are also trying to obtain a Visa for her to enter the United States for the Oscar ceremonies, which has proved to be a harrowing ordeal.

Rebelle (War Witch) is screening on March 1, at the LSPU Hall, at 8 pm, as part of Scene & Heard, the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival’s annual celebration of International Women’s Day. Tickets are $12 for regular admission and $10 for students and seniors, and are available at the RCA box office. The price of each ticket includes a surcharge for the LSPU Hall Building Maintenance Fund.

Scene & Heard also features two days of professional development workshops on March 2 and March 3. Workshop topics include sound, camera techniques, line producing, and casting for indie films. Los Angeles-based scriptwriting consultant is also returning to St. John’s for a script writing workshop and consultations sessions.

The workshops are sponsored by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. They are open to everyone.