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Santa Barbara is covering live from Santa Barbara with pictures and videos.
SBIFF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and education organization dedicated to making a positive impact utilizing the power of film. SBIFF is a year-round organization that is best known for its main film festival that takes place each year in February. Over the past 30 years the Santa Barbara International Film Festival has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 90,000 attendees and offering 11days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums. We bring the best of independent and international cinema to Santa Barbara, and we continue to expand our year-round operation to include a wide range of educational programming, fulfilling our mission to engage, enrich and inspire our community through film.

In June 2016, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. The theatre is SBIFF’s new home and is the catalyst for our program expansion. This marks the first time that Santa Barbara has had a 24/7 community center focused on the art of film and is an incredible opportunity to expand our mission of educational outreach. Particularly important to SBIFF is making available high quality learning opportunities for underserved and vulnerable populations. Our programs and reach are more robust than ever before.


‘War Witch: Rebelle’ (2012) at the 28th SBIFF

Arguably one of the most talked about films on the 2012 international festival circuit was the extreme realism drama ‘War Witch' (aka 'Rebelle’), 2012. Written and directed by Kim Nguyen, the film is in French and Lingala and filmed on location in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Canada’s entry for Best Foreign Film for the 85th Academy Awards, ‘War Waitch: Rebelle’ tells the story of Komona (Rachel Mwanza) who is kidnapped by Congolese guerilla soldiers. Raped, beaten, orphaned and starving, Komona must choose between death and survival at any cost. Becoming a rebel herself by aiding the soldiers with healing powers through witchcraft, she becomes friends with a young boy from their group. The two friends attempt an escape from the relentlessly violent rebel soldiers but are quickly captured. Her friend is murdered while she is sent back into hell while in their keeping. Filmed in documentary realism style it is hard to imagine this harrowing narrative as a fiction and not on site documentary. This is filmic realism at its absolute best reminiscent of ‘City of God’ (2002) and ‘Gomorrah’ (2008).

‘War Witch: Rebelle’ made its international premier at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival where it ran in competition for the Golden Bear and where 12 year-old Rachel Mwanza won the Silver Bear for Best actress. The film made its North American premier at the Tribeca Film Festival where Rachel also won for Best Actress. The film screened recently at the 28th Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Written by Vanessa McMahon


War Witch
Canada, 2012, 90 Minute Running Time 
Topics: African Interest, Coming of Age, War 
Program: Awards Buzz : Best Foreign Language Film
Language: French, Lingala English Sub-Titles

DIRECTOR: Kim Nguyen 
Producer: Pierre Even, Marie-Claude Poulin
Editor: Richard Comeau
Screenwriter: Kim Nguyen
Cinematographer: Nicolas Bolduc
Principal Cast: Rachel Mwanza, Alain Bastien, Serge Kanyinda, Ralph Prosper, Mizinga 

visit the film's official site here:

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About Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has star wattage and a wealth of premieres in a Mediterrean-style city by the sea.

Blogging here with dailies: 
The team of editors of the The Santa Barbara Blog:
Carol Marshall, Felicia Tomasko, Vanessa McMahon, Marla and Mark Hamperin, Kim Deisler and Bruno Chatelin

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