'Rebelle' is Canada's selection for best foreign-language Oscar

MONTREAL – Montreal filmmaker Kim Nguyen’s child-soldier drama “Rebelle” (“War Witch”) has been named Canada’s selection for best foreign-language Oscar.

Telefilm Canada says it’s confident the harrowing French-language feature “will win over the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.”

“Rebelle” stars newcomer Rachel Mwanza as a teen who is forced to fight with, and become a sex slave for, a rebel commander in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The film is one of 65 that will initially be submitted for consideration before a long list is announced by the academy.

Canadian films have made the final Oscar short list for the last two years: Philippe Falardeau’s “Monsieur Lazhar” made the cut last year while Denis Villeneuve’s “Incendies” did so the year before that.

The 85th Academy Awards will be handed out on Feb. 24.

“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,” Nguyen said in a statement.

“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.”