War Witch (Rebelle), Montreal director Kim Nguyen's film about a child soldier in Africa who turns her life around, will have its North American premiere at New York's Tribeca Film Festival.

Organizers of the annual festival released a partial lineup on Tuesday that included two Canadian films: War Witch and the documentary The World Before Her.

War Witch had its worldwide debut in February at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it was the first Canadian movie selected for competition in 12 years. Young star Rachel Mwanza won the best actress award in Berlin.

The otherworldly drama, shot entirely in the Congo, follows 14-year-old Komona (played by Mwanza) and tells the story of her life since rebel warlords stormed her village, with an emphasis on her hopes for the future.

At Tribeca, War Witch is competing with films from around the world in the World Narrative competition. 


Canadian documentary The World Before Her will open the World Documentary competition at Tribeca. (Tribeca Film Festival)

Canadian documentary The World Before Her has the opening slot in Tribeca's World Documentary competition. It is directed by Nisha Pahuja, a former National Film Board of Canada filmmaker who also wrote and directed the Gemini Award-winner Diamond Road. 

In The World Before Her, Pahuja turns her lens onto the situation of women in contemporary India, focusing on two girls headed for the Miss India pageant as well as looking at a fundamentalist Hindu camp for girls.

The Five-Year Engagement opens

Tribeca's opening film will be The Five-Year Engagement, a comedy from the same team who created Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Jason Segel and Emily Blunt star as a young couple who cannot get down the aisle.   

In total, Tribeca announced 46 feature films out of 90 planned for this year’s festival. A total of 5,950 filmmakers applied to participate in the event, created by Robert De Niro to revitalize lower Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks.

Other works announced include:

  • Francophrenia (Or Don't Kill Me, I Know Where the Baby Is): a psychological thriller co-directed by James Franco and Ian Olds.
  • The Girl, a feature directed by David Riker, starring Abbie Cornish as a single mother who loses her job.
  • Una Noche: a feature from Cuba about young adults tired of catering to rich tourists, directed by Lucy Mulloy.
  • Yossi, about a closeted gay man living a solitary existence in Tel Aviv, directed by Israel's Eytan Fox.

The Tribeca Film Festival takes place April 18-29 in New York.