The teenage star of critically-acclaimed movie War Witch is on her way to the 2013 Oscars after U.S. immigration officials granted the Congolese native a visa to attend Sunday's (24Feb13) ceremony.
Rachel Mwanza was cast as the lead in Canadian filmmaker Kim Nguyen's child soldier drama, despite having no prior acting experience, but the 16 year old won rave reviews for her performance and even took home the Best Actress award at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York last year (12).
War Witch, also known by its French title Rebelle, is Canada's official entry for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year and now the leading lady will be able to join in the celebrations if Nguyen's picture wins gold.
In a statement to the Bbc, the director described Mwanza's story as a true "Cinderella tale", explaining, "Abandoned by her family and living on the streets as a child, her life has been transformed by the making of the film. To have her journey end on the red carpet is beyond anything she could have dreamed of."
Darth Vader is back and James Earl Jones will once again provide the villain’s voice.
It was a very different experience for the young actress.
He hadn't heard Newt Knight's story before signing on to the project.