Sixteen-year-old Congolese actress Rachel Mwanza will walk the red carpet at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood on Sunday night.
22 February 2013
Congolese cinema starlet gets US visa in time for Oscars
The teenage star of an Academy Award nominated film has been granted a US visa so she can attend the ceremony.
Sixteen-year-old Rachel Mwanza, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, had never acted before when she was cast by Canadian filmmaker Kim Nguyen in his gut wrenching drama War Witch.
Ms Mwanza played the lead role of Komona and her performance was received with critical acclaim, winning prizes at the Berlin and Tribeca film festivals.
The film has also been nominated in the best foreign language film category at the 85th Academy Awards, to take place this Sunday, and Ms Mwanza has been granted a US visa so she can attend the ceremony herself.
Mr Nguyen said Ms Mwanza's journey was 'truly a Cinderella tale' since being cast in his film.
"Abandoned by her family and living on the streets as a child, her life has been transformed by the making of the film," he said.
"To have her journey end on the red carpet is beyond anything she could have dreamed of."
War Witch, which is also known as Rebelle, will compete against entries from Austria (Amour), Norway (Kon-Tiki), Chile (No) and Denmark (A Royal Affair) at the event which will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and hosted by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane on Sunday night.
The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.