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Telefilm Canada announces that Kim Nguyen’s War Witch (Rebelle) is Canada’s selection for the Best Foreign Language Oscar

Montreal, September 18, 2012 – Telefilm Canada, which chairs the pan-Canadian Oscar selection committee, is pleased to announce that the feature film War Witch (Rebelle), directed by Kim Nguyen, has been selected to represent Canada for consideration as a possible nominee in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 85th Academy Awards, to be held in Hollywood on February 24, 2013.

“Over the last two years, Canada has performed exceptionally well in the competition for the celebrated Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, with three nominated films—Monsieur Lazhar, Incendies and In Darkness,” said Carolle Brabant, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada. “We are proud that Kim Nguyen’s War Witch, which has been sold in more than 25 territories, is representing Canada and we are confident that it will win over the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.”

“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 Kim Nguyen when Telefilm called him with the good news. “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.”

With War Witch, Kim Nguyen became the first Canadian director in 13 years in Official Competition at the Berlin International Film Festival. At Berlin, the film’s lead, the young Congolese actress Rachel Mwanza, won the Silver Bear for Best Actress and the movie also picked up a Special Mention from the Ecumenical Jury. The film also shone at the Tribeca Film Festival, winning awards for Best Narrative Feature and Best Actress. Shot entirely on location in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, War Witch depicts the brutal reality of child soldiers.

War Witch was funded by the Canada Feature Film Fund. Produced by Pierre Even and Marie-Claude Poulin of the production company Item 7, the film is distributed in Quebec by Métropole Films and in the United States by Tribeca Film. This marks the second time that Pierre Even has seen one of his films selected to represent Canada in the Oscar race. In 2006, Jean-Marc Vallée’s C.R.A.Z.Y. was Canada’s pick for the 78th annual Academy Awards.

Selection process for the Best Foreign Language Film category
Telefilm coordinates and chairs the pan-Canadian Oscar selection committee, which comprises 22 voting members representing major government agencies and national film industry associations. This year, War Witch was selected from among 12 films submitted to the Committee. The nominations for the 85th Academy Awards will be announced on January 15, 2013.

Sixty-five countries will submit their top film for consideration as a possible Best Foreign Language Film nominee to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Only one film per country is accepted, and the selected film must have been produced outside the United States, be primarily in a language other than English, and have been shown in a movie theatre for at least seven consecutive days in its country of origin between October 1, 2011, and September 30, 2012. The Academy then votes to choose five films to be nominated in the category.

In the history of the Oscars, seven Canadian films have been nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar: Philippe Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar and Agnieszka Holland’s In Darkness, in 2011; Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies, in 2010; Deepa Mehta’s Water, in 2006; and three films by Denys Arcand: Le Déclin de l'empire américain (The Decline of the American Empire) in 1986, Jésus de Montréal (Jesus of Montreal) in 1989, and Les Invasions barbares (The Barbarian Invasions), which won the coveted award for 2003.

Canadian Selection Committee – 85th Annual Academy Awards
Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television (ACCT)
Alberta Media Production Industries Association (AMPIA)
Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA)
Alliance québécoise des techniciens de l'image et du son (AQTIS)
Association des producteurs de films et de télévision du Québec (APFTQ)
Association québécoise des critiques de cinéma (AQCC)
Association des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec (ARRQ)
British Columbia Film and Media
Canada Council for the Arts
Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA)
Directors Guild of Canada
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Manitoba Film and Music
National Film Board of Canada
New Brunswick Film
Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation
Ontario Media Development Corporation
SaskFilm and Video Development Corporation
Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC)
Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma du Québec (SARTEC)
Union des artistes
Yukon Film & Sound Commission

About Telefilm Canada
Telefilm is dedicated to the cultural, commercial and industrial success of Canada’s audiovisual industry. Through its various funding and promotion programs, Telefilm supports dynamic companies and creative talent here at home and around the world. Telefilm also administers the programs of the Canada Media Fund. Visit www.telefilm.ca and follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/telefilm_canada.

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Media inquiries:
Douglas Chow, Manager, External Communications
Telefilm Canada
514-283-0838, ext. 2225, or 1-800-567-0890
douglas.chow@telefilm.ca