Animation is Film announced the winners of its inaugural festival with Cartoon Saloon’s The Breadwinner, directed by Nora Twomey, taking both of the top honours: The Grand Prize, selected by the festival jury, and the Audience Award, selected by festival attendees.
The Breadwinner is directed by Twomey (co-director, Academy Award®-nominated The Secret of Kells) with screen story by Ellis and screenplay by Anita Doron. The Breadwinner is the story of Parvana, a young girl living under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, who must disguise herself as a boy to become the breadwinner of the family when her father is unfairly imprisoned. A story of self-empowerment and imagination in the face of oppression, The Breadwinner also celebrates the culture, history and beauty of Afghanistan with a cast that includes many performers of Afghan descent.
The Breadwinner features the voice talents of Saara Chaudry (Max & Shred) in the role of Parvana, Soma Bhatia (Degrassi: Next Class) as Shauzia, Laara Sadiq (Remedy) as Parvana’s mother Fattema, Ali Badshah (The Cat In The Hat) as Parvana’s father Nurullah, Shaista Latif (This is the Life) as Parvana’s sister Soraya, and Kawa Ada (Jihad Gigilo) as Razaq.
The film is a collaborative effort of Canada’s Aircraft Pictures, Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon and Luxembourg’s Melusine Productions in association with Jolie Pas Productions. The Breadwinner was produced with the financial participation of Telefilm Canada and the Talent Fund, the Irish Film Board, Film Fund Luxembourg, Mimi Gitlin Productions, The Shaw Rocket Fund, Artemis Rising Foundation, The Broadcast Authority of Ireland, The Ontario Media Development Corporation, The Harold Greenberg Fund, RTE, Movie Central, The Movie Network a division of Bell Media Inc., the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit and the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit.
The Breadwinner is not just an incredibly important film, but one that reminds us of the power of animation to communicate serious issues in the world. Transforming hardship into a warm and moving story, the movie represents a triumph by its director, Nora Twomey, in terms of script, voice acting, design, music and editing. The films in competition this year illustrated the many techniques and possibilities of animation, but The Breadwinner was a clear favorite among our jury. Special Jury Prize goes to The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales a comedy that celebrates the joys of traditional cartoon animation.
Peter Debruge, Festival Jury Chair
The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales, from Oscar-nominated Benjamin Renner (Ernest & Celestine) and Patrick Imbert, took home The Special Jury Prize. The film was produced by Oscar-nominated Didier Brunner (Kirikou and the Sorceress, Triplets of Belleville, The Secret of Kells, Ernest & Celestine).
The inaugural edition of Animation is Film took place Oct. 20-22 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theater in Hollywood. The festival presented a selection of twelve new animated feature films in competition, with selections from Asia, Europe, South America and North America, and filmmakers attending for most screenings. Additionally, the festival presented studio events, special screenings, short film programs, and a VR lounge, with the majority of screenings selling out.
The festival was presented by GKIDS, Annecy Int’l Animation Film Festival, Variety and ASIFA-Hollywood, with major sponsors Los Angeles Times, IndieWire, Cartoon Brew, Fathom Events and Google.