French-language "War Witch" (also known as "Rebelle") is the only Canadian Academy Award feature film nomination for 2013. (Toronto-based composer Mychael Danna is also up for two Academy Awards -- for Best Song and Best Original Score for his work on "Life of Pi"; Canadian Yan England also got nominated for Live Action Short Film for "Henry.")

Written and directed by Kim Nguyen, the film is nominated for Best Foreign Feature. The movie centres around 12-year-old African Komona (Rachel Mwanza), who's forced to kill her parents when she's abducted from her tiny village by a group of rebels. She undergoes horrendous abuse and is trained as a soldier; under the influence of hallucinogenic tree sap, she starts to see ghosts and miraculously survives a sudden ambush, so the leader of the rebel army concludes that she's a witch.

The film was in competition for the Golden Bear at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in February 2012. At Berlin, Mwanza won the Silver Bear for Best Actress. She also won the award for Best Actress at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival.

Nguyen became the first Canadian director in 13 years to have a film selected for the main competition, and this is his first Academy Award nomination.

As "Rebelle," the film screened at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival to rave reviews.

categories Movies