Wednesday 13 December 2017

Angelina Jolie produces 'empowering' Irish animated film

Actress Angelina Jolie Photo: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
Actress Angelina Jolie Photo: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
Angelina Jolie is executive producer of Irish-made 'The Breadwinner', but did she also inspire the cartoon's heroine? Photo: REUTERS/UNHCR/Jason Tanner/Handout
Jerome Reilly

Jerome Reilly

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie is putting her weight and considerable influence behind a new Irish cartoon film which sends out a strong message on women living under oppression or conflict, according to the animation company behind the project.

Jolie is executive producer of the Academy Award-nominated Cartoon Saloon's new film The Breadwinner which is set for release next September.

Parvana, the main character in The Breadwinner
Parvana, the main character in The Breadwinner

The Breadwinner is the story of 12-year-old Parwana who dresses up as a boy in order to work and provide for her family when her father is arrested in Afghanistan.

Together with her best friend, Shauzia, she risks discovery by the authorities to try to find out if her father is still alive.

The film will go to Canada for post-production early next year before being premiered in autumn. In the meantime the creative forces behind Cartoon Saloon will attend this year's premier art fair Art Source to meet Ireland's future animators and give workshops to children during the event in the RDS running from November 11-13.

Kilkenny-based Cartoon Saloon is a twice Academy Award and Bafta-nominated animation studio formed in 1999 by Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey and Paul Young, who met when studying animation in Ballyfermot Senior College, Dublin.

Angelina Jolie is executive producer of Irish-made 'The Breadwinner', but did she also inspire the cartoon's heroine? Photo: REUTERS/UNHCR/Jason Tanner/Handout
Angelina Jolie is executive producer of Irish-made 'The Breadwinner', but did she also inspire the cartoon's heroine? Photo: REUTERS/UNHCR/Jason Tanner/Handout

In 2010, the studio's first feature film, The Secret of Kells, was nominated for an Academy Award, and in 2015, Moore's follow-up feature Song of the Sea garnered Moore a second Oscar nomination.

Jolie has met Cartoon Saloon's co-founder and The Breadwinner director Twomey in London to discuss the project.

Jolie has long been noted for her humanitarian work and has been an advocate for refugees in her role as a Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

"She firmly believes in the film and is very excited about it. She is really involved in giving feedback and advice on an issue that she deeply cares about," said Cartoon Saloon's Catherine Roycroft.

"She really works hard for education and empowerment for women in the Middle East - so she wants to push the film and send out the strongest message possible.

"To make the film as authentic as possible, we've used the voices of people who either come from or were born in Afghanistan for the characters."

Cartoon Saloon has just finished a TG4 series Cul An Ti which involves schoolchildren across the country either in animation or singing with artists including Imelda May and Liam O Maonlai.

And the animation studio will be holding a portfolio and career advice workshop for second and third-level students at Art Source in the RDS on Friday.

Then on Saturday and Sunday they will host free Shapeshifters workshops for eight to 12-year-olds.

More than 15,000 people are expected to visit Art Source to see exhibits from over 120 contemporary artists and 30 Irish and international galleries, gathered together to showcase painting, sculpture, photography, illustration, prints and ceramic art.

"Art Source offers visitors the opportunity to purchase a one-off affordable artwork to make their home unique and also the opportunity to meet the artists and hear about their work," said event organiser Patrick O'Sullivan.

Among the artists featured at Art Source are Vincent Devine, who has grabbed the attention of Madonna and Tyra Banks; Dublin mural painter Jane Willoughby, who has swapped scaffolding for easels in a new career direction; and retired Dublin fireman Paul McCabe, who has also climbed the ladder to artistic success.

Admission to Art Source is €10 adults, €8 OAPs. Children under 16 accompanied by a parent/guardian go free.

Sunday Independent

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