UNA-NY Screening the Issues

War Witch

Please join us for this screening at New York's
Angelika Film Center
followed by a discussion with special guest

Programme Officer
Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for
Children and Armed Conflict



Friday, March 1, 2013
Screening at 7 p.m. followed by discussion

Angelika Film Center
18 West Houston Street (at Mercer Street, off Broadway)
New York, NY 10012


Set in Sub-Saharan Africa, WAR WITCH is a story of human resilience, a love story between two young souls caught in a violent world yet filled with beauty and magic.

An Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, it tells the story of Komona, a young girl kidnapped by African rebels at the age of 12 and forced to fight against the government. When her ability to see ghosts in the trees makes her a favorite of the supreme leader of the rebels, Komona decides to escape the violent rebels.

Her only friend is Magician, a 15 year old boy who wants to marry her. Despite the horrors and daily grind of war, Komona and Magician fall in love.

Having thought they had escaped the war, fate had decided otherwise. In order to survive, Komona will need to return to where she came from and make amends with her past. Around them, war rages on…

Working over a 10 year period using nonprofessional actors, director Kim Nguyen weaves true stories of child soldiers with footage from the Democratic Republic of Congo to create a poignant film which exudes visceral energy and emotional power.

Acclaim from the reviews

"A moving and emotional powerhouse, WAR WITCH packs a punch." Movieline

"Stunning. Rachel Mwanza's wrenching lead performance is one of the finest of the year… the Congolese actress commands the screen with her presence." The Playlist

"A genre benchmark and a breakout work for writer-director Kim Nguyen... met with nearly universal critical acclaim at its Berlin premiere." The Hollywood Reporter

"Canadian-based writer-helmer Kim Nguyen...display[s] a maturity, panache and emotional marksmanship that will elevate his reputation several notches. The film continues to haunt long after the end credits roll." Variety

"Excellent, driven by a fierce, award-winning performance from 15-year-old Rachel Mwanza." LA Weekly

"A poignant work, filled with strong, captivating images. Mwanza gives a wonderfully naturalistic performance." Shadow and Act

Alec Wargo serves as Program Officer in the Office of the Special Representative for Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict.

Before his current post, he also spent three years working at the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo as a Child Protection Adviser. His first posts with the UN were working with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), where he, too, worked to protect and improve the lives of children whether in East Timor or on the Guinean border.

Alec also spent two years at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as a human rights and human rights and democratization officer in Bosnia mission.

He received his B.A. in International Studies from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and his M.A. in International Relations from McGill University in Montreal.

In 2002, Kim Nguyen wrote and directed his first feature film: Le Marais. The film received 6 Jutra nominations including Best Film and Best Director. His second feature, Trufe, which he wrote, directed and produced, stars Roy Dupuis and was the opening film at Montreal's FANTASIA Film Festival in 2008. It also garnered international awards including Best Film at the Karlovy Vary Fresh Film Festival. In 2009 he directed La Cité, an international co-production starring Jean Marc Barr. WAR WITCH, his latest feature was entirely shot in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in July 2011. Presented in Official Competition at Berlin International Film Festival War Witch received the Silver Bear for Best Actress (Rachel Mwanza) and a special mention from the Ecumenical Jury.

Festivals and Awards

Nominee, Best Foreign Language Film, Academy Awards

Nominee, Best International Film, Independent Spirit Awards

Winner, Top Five Foreign Language Films, National Board of Review

Winner, Best Actress, Berlin International Film Festival 

Winner, Best Narrative Feature, Best Actress, Tribeca Film Festival

Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival

Official Selection, AFI Fest

Official Selection, Palm Springs International Film Festival

The original Angelika Film Center & Café opened in New York City's Soho district in 1989. The Angelika plays an impressive and diverse mix of independent films, and is the definitive cinema of choice for filmmakers and film lovers alike. Since its opening, the Angelika New York has become the most successful and recognized arthouse in the US. The Angelika offers a dynamic and sophisticated atmosphere. The theater is a great place to meet your friends or hang out by yourself, and patrons who come early can enjoy a gourmet snack at the café or browse our InFocus newsletter.

Take the B, D, F, V to Broadway/Lafayette St. Exit at the west end of the station
Take the 6 to Bleeker St.
Take the R, W to Prince St.

Take the M5, M6 or M21 to Houston St. and Broadway