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Meet the 2012 Tribeca Filmmakers #32: Kim Nguyen, ‘War Witch’

Meet the 2012 Tribeca Filmmakers #32: Kim Nguyen, 'War Witch'

Kim Nguyen explains it like this: “When I was fifteen I liked to write stories, and then in art class I developed my first black and white picture. As the white paper went in the chemical bath and an image appeared under the red light of the lab, I was hooked! Stories + pictures = movies.” And so it was that Nguyan became a filmmaker; in 2002 he debuted with “Le Marais,” which received six Jutra Award nominations in Canada, and his second feature, “Truffe,” won Best Film at the Karlovy Vary Fresh Film Festival. He also directed “La Cite” in 2009. And now, “War Witch”…

What it’s about: Komona, a 14-year-old girl, tells her unborn child growing inside her the story of her life since she has been at war. Everything started when she was abducted by the rebel army at the age of 12. For two years she was forced to carry an AK 47 and kill people. Her only respite comes from her 15-year-old friend, a boy called Magician, who helps her and listens to her. As they experience the horrors and daily grind of war, Komona and Magician fall in love.

Nguyen says: “If there is one single reason moviegoers should come and see ‘War Witch,’ it’s to see our breathtaking young actress Rachel Mwanza, a teenager who before this film lived in the streets of the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is the first African actress to ever win the Silver Bear for best actress at the Berlin International Film Festival. Her presence and charisma on screen is reminiscent of great actors such as Brad Pitt and Meryl Streep before they became… Brad Pitt and Meryl Streep. Her aura on the screen is just mesmerizing!”

The biggest challenge? “Convincing an insurance company to let us shoot in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

Inspirations? “Fish Tank” by Andrea Arnold, and “A Prophet” by Jacques Audiard.

What’s next for Nguyen: “Three projects: ‘Lucy,’ a modern tale set in the contemporary Great North; ‘Origin of the World,’ a story about our quest for love in the 21st century; and ‘Dead Souls,’ a (very) loose adaptation of the famous novel by Gogol.”

Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2012 festival.

Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch for the latest profiles.

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