Telefilm names Rebelle as Oscar pick

équipe Komona

Kim Nguyen’s Rebelle (War Witch) has been selected by Telefilm Canada as Canada’s contender in the Best Foreign Language Film competition at the 85th Academy Awards in February.

“After 10 years in development and a production marked by many adventures that have provided me with everlasting memories of the Congo and its people, this recognition warms my heart,” said director Nguyen in a statement, adding, “It was truly a team effort and this recognition is sincerely shared with everyone who worked on this film, from the writing, to the creation and production, as well as with all our financial partners who believed in us despite the risks.”

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.

The film also screened at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival before heading west to the Vancouver and Calgary festivals.

Rebelle, funded by the Canada Feature Film Fund and shot on location in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, is produced by Pierre Even (C.R.A.Z.Y.) and Marie-Claude Poulin of Montreal-based Item 7.

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.

Last year, two Canadian films, Philippe Falardeau’s Monseiur Lazhar and Agnieszka Holland’s In Darkness, were nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

Nominations for the 85th Academy Awards will be announced on Jan. 15, 2013.