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Berlin and Tribeca Prize Winner Set for Release in Early 2013


"Engrossing … Managing to be neither sentimental nor sensationalistic, the film tells its story from the heart, and from the simple, straightforward viewpoint of young heroine Komona, warmly played by the talented Rachel Mwanza in her screen debut." –The Hollywood Reporter


New York, NY – (June 13, 2012) –Tribeca Film announced today that it has acquired U.S. rights to Kim Nguyen’s award winning War Witch (Rebelle), a powerfully poignant film shot in the Congo with an exceptional lead performance by Rachel Mwanza, a newcomer who was discovered on the streets of Kinshasa. In her very first acting role, Mwanza has already garnered critical acclaim for her astounding performance winning the Silver Bear- Best actress award at the Berlin Film Festival, where the film made its world premiere in competition, as well as the Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film Award at the Tribeca Film Festival.  The film took home the “Founders Award” for best narrative feature at Tribeca, where it made its North American premiere. 

The film, with a screenplay by Nguyen, stars Mwanza, Alain Bastien, Serge Kanyianda, Ralph Prosper and Mizinga Mwinga. The film was produced by Pierre Even and Marie-Claude Poulin of Montreal-based ITEM 7. Tribeca Film plans a release across multiple platforms in the first quarter of 2013.

War Witch tells the story of Komona, a young girl whose life is anything but normal.  Kidnapped by African rebels at the age of 12, Komona was forced at gunpoint to slaughter her own parents and fight as a child soldier against the government in the jungles.  But Komona was no ordinary solider.  Due to her ability to see gray ghosts in the trees that warn her of approaching enemies, she was deemed a sorceress and bestowed the title of War Witch by the supreme leader of the rebels, Great Tiger. War Witch exudes visceral energy and emotional power as Komona’s journey ultimately finds her in love with a fellow child soldier named Magician (Serge Kanyinda), but pregnant with another man’s child. Saddled with the reality that a life of normalcy is forever beyond her grasp, Komona must find a way to resolve the actions of her past. 

“This film has spectacular resonance at a time when the world has been awakened to the situation of children being conditioned to wage war in Africa,” said Geoff Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer of Tribeca Enterprises. “Director Kim Nguyen balances heartbreakingly emphatic scenes of conflict, romantic yearning, and lyrical and dreamlike storytelling.  We are so proud to be bringing this award winning film to wider audiences and look forward to taking this exhilarating journey with the filmmakers.”

“I am thrilled to have Tribeca Film distribute War Witch. Hearing the team talk about the film is a true inspiration and I am incredibly thrilled to be working closely with them for the release in the U.S.", said writer-director Kim Nguyen. "We are confident that Tribeca Film’s passionate team can bring this special film to a wide audience in the U.S. and are very pleased to have them as U.S. distributor,” added Marie-Claude Poulin and Pierre Even for Item 7. 

The deal was negotiated for Tribeca Film by Nick Savva, Director of Acquisitions, and on behalf of the filmmakers by Nicolas Brigaud-Robert from Films Distribution in Paris.

About Tribeca Film:
Tribeca Film is a comprehensive distribution label dedicated to acquiring and marketing independent films across multiple platforms, including video-on-demand, theatrical, digital, home video and television.  It is an initiative from Tribeca Enterprises designed to provide new platforms for how film can be experienced, while supporting filmmakers and introducing audiences to films they might not otherwise see. American Express continues its support of Tribeca and the independent film community by serving as the Founding Partner of Tribeca Film.



Tammie Rosen – Tribeca Enterprises, 212.941.2003,
Jennifer Holiner – Tribeca Film, 212.941.2038,
Dade Hayes – Rubenstein Communications, 212.843.8022,