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GKIDS Joins Production of ‘The Breadwinner’

GKIDS’ Eric Beckman & David Jesteadt to executive produce third feature from two-time Oscar-nominated Cartoon Saloon with fall 2017 theatrical release planned.

NEW YORK -- Independent film distributor GKIDS has announced that CEO/founder Eric Beckman and SVP of distribution David Jesteadt will executive produce, along with Angelina Jolie Pitt and others, The Breadwinner, the latest feature from the two-time Academy Award nominated animation studio Cartoon Saloon.

GKIDS had its first Oscar nomination with Cartoon Saloon’s The Secret of Kells, co-directed by The Breadwinner director Nora Twomey. Cartoon’s Saloon’s Song of the Sea and The Secret of Kells were also Oscar nominees for GKIDS.

Since it was founded in 2008, GKIDS has had a major impact on the U.S. animation landscape by discovering and distributing a slate of prestige, critically acclaimed, independent feature animation from around the world, and garnering an unprecedented eight Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature. The Breadwinner marks the first time the studio is serving in a producing and financing capacity, in addition to distribution. GKIDS has slated a fall 2017 theatrical release in North America.

Based on the award-winning, best-selling young adult novel by Deborah Ellis, The Breadwinner is directed by Cartoon Saloon’s Nora Twomey, who co-directed The Secret of Kells alongside Tomm Moore. The film is about Parvana, a young girl living under the Taliban regime, who cuts her hair and disguises herself as a boy in order to provide for her family after her father is imprisoned. A powerful and riveting story of self-empowerment and imagination in the face of oppression, THE BREADWINNER boasts the breathtaking hand-drawn animation that has made Cartoon Saloon one of the world’s most well-loved and respected animation studios.

Said Beckman and Jesteadt, “We’ve been long-standing friends with everyone at Cartoon Saloon since those heady days when we celebrated our first Oscar nomination together for The Secret of Kells, and again five years later for Song of the Sea. We knew we needed to be involved with The Breadwinner once we learned Nora would be bringing Deborah Ellis’ beautiful and compelling story to the big screen. We’re thrilled that this film marks our first foray into the creative process and we look forward to supporting Nora and the team in bringing their vision to audiences everywhere.”

The Breadwinner is produced by Aircraft Pictures’ Anthony Leo and Andrew Rosen, Cartoon Saloon’s Tomm Moore and Paul Young, and Melusine Productions’ Stephan Roelants. It is executive produced by Angelina Jolie Pitt, and GKIDS’ Beckman and Jesteadt will also join as executive producers.

An official Ireland-Canada-Luxembourg co-production, The Breadwinner will be produced with the participation of Telefilm Canada, the Irish Film Board, Film Fund Luxembourg, the Harold Greenberg Fund, Shaw Rocket Fund, the OMDC and the BAI along with Gaia Entertainment and the Artemis Rising Foundation.

Published by Groundwood Books, The Breadwinner novel has been in print for more than 15 years and is recommended reading in numerous middle schools throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. Author Deborah Ellis recently completed “My Name is Parvana,” the fourth book in the series which has cumulative sales exceeding 2.5 million copies across 25 languages. To date, Ellis has donated more than $1 million from her book royalties to the charity Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. The book was recently endorsed by Nobel Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, who told the New York Times, “’The Breadwinner’ reminds us how courageous and strong women are around the world.”

Source: GKIDS

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.