Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, the movie also marks the debut performance of its lead actress Rachel Mwanza, who was only twelve years old and reportedly living on the streets when she was cast in the movie. After attending last year's Berlin Film Festival, she was presented with the Silver Bear award for Best Actress.
According to the press release, the movie took ten years to make and was shot entirely in the Congo, where the crew was often mistaken for actual army rebels.
More on the film below in the synopsis:
Komona (Mwanza) is only 12 years old when she is kidnapped by rebel soldiers and enslaved to a life of guerrilla warfare in the African jungle. Forced to commit unspeakable acts of brutality, she finds hope for survival in protective, ghost-like visions (inspiring a rebel chief to anoint her "War Witch"), and in a tender relationship with a fellow soldier named Magician (Serge Kanyinda). Together, they manage to escape the rebels' clutches, and a normal life finally seems within reach. But after their freedom proves short-lived, Komona realizes she must find a way to bury the ghosts of her past.
I have yet to seen the film (which will be available On Demand starting February 26 and in select theaters March 1), but judging by the description and the below trailer, it looks pretty tremendous (especially the cinematography). I'll be interested to see how it fares at this Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony. Regardless of the outcome, I'm sure Tribeca will still continue to celebrate this unprecedented nomination.
Also, a note on the press release mentions that Mwanza is now in school and the filmmakers continue to provide her with a caregiver. Take a look at the trailer and photos from the film below: