Rachel Mwanza, the young actress who plays a child soldier in the Oscar-nominated Canadian movie War Witch, has been granted visas that will allow her to attend the Academy Awards and other awards ceremonies.

Mwanza, now 16, is living in the Congo, but has been cleared to enter Canada and the U.S. at awards season.

The young actress, who was plucked off the streets of Kinshasa for the role, has been nominated for Quebec’s Jutra Award and a Canadian Screen Award for her performance. She previously won the Silver Bear for best actress at the Berlin Film Festival and was declared best actress at the Tribeca Film Festival.

She plays a 12-year-old who is stolen from her village, forced to kill her parents and then becomes revered by other soldiers because of the visions she has in the jungle. A teen romance helps her survive her ordeal and she is able to escape.


Rachel Mwanza stars in War Witch. She will be allowed into Canada and the U.S. for the Academy Awards, Spirit Awards, Canadian Screen Awards and Jutras. (YouTube)

Kim Nguyen, the Montreal director of War Witch (Rebelle in French), had hoped to have her with him as the cast and crew celebrate their journey to the Oscars in Los Angeles, where the film is vying for best foreign-language film. War Witch is also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, with a gala in Santa Monica the day before the Academy Awards.

As a citizen of the Congo, Mwanza needed visas from both Canada and the U.S. and an exit permit from the Republic of Congo to attend the awards ceremonies.

The filmmakers continue to provide Mwanza with a caregiver and oversee her education.

War Witch is nominated for best international film at the Independent Spirit Awards, has 12 nominations for the Canadian Screen Awards on March 3 and nine nominations for Quebec's Jutras on March 17.