War Witch advances in Oscar voting

The child soldier drama, directed by Kim Nguyen and produced by Montreal's Item 7, is one of nine foreign language films selected in the first phase of Oscar nominee shortlisting.
War Witch

Canada’s official foreign language film selection, Kim Nguyen’s War Witch (Rebelle), is among nine films to advance to the next round of voting in the Oscars foreign language film category, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Friday.

War Witch, produced by Pierre Even and Marie-Claude Poulin of Montreal-based Item 7 Productions, has garnered a slew of awards on the festival circuit.

The child soldier drama has made the rounds on the festival circuit over the last year, winning a special mention from the ecumenical jury and a Silver Bear prize for the film’s lead, Rachel Mwanza, at the Berlin International Film Festival, and picking up a win in the World Narrative competition at Tribeca.

It was nominated in late November for best international film in the Independent Spirit Awards. In December, t took top prize at Plus Camerimage, the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography in Torun, Poland. Its cinematographer, Nicolas Bolduc, was named recipient of the Golden Frog along with Nguyen.

The U.S. National Board of Review also named it one of the top five foreign language films of 2012.

The film has been sold in more than 25 territories, and is distributed in Quebec by Metropole Films and in the U.S. by Tribeca Film.

Foreign language film nominations for the 2012 Oscars are being determined in two phases.

Originally, 71 films had qualified in the category, which were screened by several hundred L.A.-based Academy members.

The group’s top six choices, along with three additional selections voted by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award executive committee, constitute the shortlist unveiled Friday.

The shortlist of nine films will be culled to five nominees by committees in New York and L.A., to be announced Jan. 10, 2013.

Also amongst the shortlisted films are Michael Haneke’s Amour (Austria), Nikolaj Arcel’s A Royal Affair (Denmark), Baltasar Kormakur’s The Deep (Iceland) and Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano’s The Intouchables (France).