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Young actress from Congo granted visa for Oscars

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February 20, 2013 06:03 PM EST | AP


NEW YORK — The 16-year-old star of the Oscar-nominated "War Witch" has been granted a visa to travel from Congo for the Academy Awards.

The film's distributor, Tribeca Film, said Wednesday that Rachel Mwanza (MWAHN'-zuh) will be able to attend upcoming award shows, including Sunday's Oscars.

"War Witch," directed by Montreal filmmaker Kim Nguyen (WIN), is nominated for best foreign language film as Canada's submission.

Shot entirely in the Congo, Mwanza was cast despite no prior acting experience. She had been living at her grandmother's house and on the streets before Nguyen picked her to play a child soldier caught up in an unspecified African revolution.

Mwanza won best actress at both the Berlin Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival last year. "War Witch" opens in New York theaters March 1.