The 62nd Berlinale International Film Festival awards ceremony occurred Saturday (Feb. 18th) and one delightful surprise that took place was Congolese native and newcomer Rachel Mwanza‘s “Best Actress” win for her role in the dramatic film War Witch (aka Rebelle).
The 15 year old plays a young girl who is kidnapped from her village and becomes a child soldier. The Canadian production, directed by Kim Nguyen, was completely filmed in the Congo although the story takes place in an unnamed nation.
Nguyen called Rachel’s performance in the film “breathtaking” and praised her ability to use the “method acting” approach where an actor calls on real emotional memories.
He told the Vancouver Sun…”Just before acting, five second before, she would stick her tongue out at the camera and laugh, and I would say, `Action!’ and boom, dead on, crying and in the moment. It was really funny, because the actors who came from Canada were all getting prepared, and getting into the moment, and you have this little kid, and just before dramatic scenes, she’s putting out her tongue at them and laughing and they’re trying to concentrate, and then she nails it right when the camera starts.”