Child star of 'Rebelle' to attend the Oscars
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, February 22, 2013 9:57AM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 23, 2013 12:51PM EST
MONTREAL -- The child actress in the Oscar-nominated "Rebelle" will attend this Sunday's star-studded gala in Los Angeles.
A spokeswoman for the Item 7 production company told The Canadian Press that Rachel Mwanza has received the visas needed to travel to the United States and Canada.
Mwanza will also attend the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on March 3 and the Jutra ceremony in Montreal on March 17.
"Rebelle," which is directed by Montreal's Kim Nguyen, is in the running for the best foreign-language film prize at the Oscars.
In the French-language film, which is also known as "War Witch," Mwanza plays a 12-year-old girl who is abducted and forced to become a child soldier.
The 16-year-old Mwanza, who won best actress awards at last year's Berlin International Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival, is a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Item 7 spokeswoman Jeannette Garcia said Mwanza is thrilled at being able to visit North America.
"She was excited and wrote me on Facebook this morning to say (her shoe size) is now 9.5 instead of nine," said Garcia.
Mwanza is expected to give interviews in the United States, where the film will come out on March 1.
In a recent interview, Nguyen said Mwanza is no longer just having to survive on the street.
"She wants a better telephone, she wants to post photos on Facebook and we have to scold her sometimes by telling her some photos can be posted and others can't," Nguyen said.
"She's a real adolescent."
Mwanza is currently taking French lessons, partly because she is interested in pursuing her acting career.
But Nguyen said she still has a long way to go.
"She's not really ready," he said.
"Her level of reading and understanding is equivalent to that of a primary-school pupil, so it would be hard to give her material where she could understand the subtlety of a character."
Nguyen and the film's producers, Marie-Claude Poulin and Pierre Even, have committed to paying Mwanza's education and her accommodation until she turns 18.
Other Quebec actors who played in "Rebelle," including Alain Bastien, Ralph Prosper and Mizinga Mwinga, will also be in Los Angeles on the weekend.