Paris sales company’s Berlin slate also includes Oscar nominees A Cat in Paris and Monsieur Lazhar.

Paris-based sales company Films Distribution has picked up international sales rights to the Canadian film War Witch, directed by Kim Nguyen, which is due to premiere in Competition at the Berlin Film Festival.

The film depicts the plight of a teenage girl kidnapped by rebel troops somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa and made to serve as a child soldier.

When the young girl is the only survivor in a battle with government troops, she is declared a sorceress – a new nightmare begins.

The film produced by Marie-Claude Poulin and Pierre Even of Canadian production company Item 7, will premiere in official competition at Berlin.

War Witch delivers a disturbing tale in which the innocence of childhood is confronted by the horrors of war, but it is also the story of resilience, of how that childhood innocence can never be completely quashed,” said Nicolas Brigaud-Robert from Films Distribution.

Items 7’s co-head Poulin, who negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmaker and co- producers said: “We had a lot of interest by several international sales company for this movie but in the end we decided to go with Films Distribution, not only because of our long standing business relationship, but because we felt they were the right people to nurture our movie as it needs to be, and they have the artistic sensitivity that we know the buyers respect around the world”.

War Witch joins an eclectic Films Distribution, Berlin slate, also including two Oscar-nominated titles — A Cat in Paris (Best Animation Film) and Monsieur Lazhar (Best Foreign Language film) — as well as a second Berlin competition title, Brillante Mendoza’s Captive.

Brigaud-Robert notes that a number of territories are still open on A Cat in Paris, including Japan and Scandinavia. GKIDs picked the picture up for the United States.

The company will also be consolidating sales on Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s Stella Days. The film — nominated for nine IFTA awards in Ireland — has recently been picked up by Tribeca (US) and Aspect (Australia). Eclipse is releasing the film domestically in Ireland.