Based on the best-selling novel by Deborah Ellis, The Breadwinner is an adult animated drama film directed by Nora Twomey, and executive produced by Mimi Polk Gitlin and Angelina Jolie. The film, which is currently in theaters, follows a determined 11-year-old girl named Parvana who is growing up under Taliban rule in 2001 Afghanistan. At this time, women and girls were not permitted outside of their homes without a man so Parvana disguises herself as a boy in order to find work and feed her family after her father is unjustly arrested.
Director Nora Twomey started the development process by reaching out to Afghan-American artist Aman Mojadidi whose input, according to the filmmaker, “helped inform the screenplay in a way that was quite specific, in terms of Afghanistan, but also universal because he kind of has a leg in both cultures.”
Producer Angelina Jolie helped Ms. Twomey audition Afghan actors. And for the score, composer Mychael Danna (Oscar winner for “Life of Pi”) and his brother Jeff Danna enlisted Afghan musicians. “There are a few Afghan players here in America, but the Taliban banned music, so the suppression of music has kind of been a fact of life on and off for a generation now,” remarks Mr. Danna. “We made contact with a school in Kabul, the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, and they hooked us up with some great players, and we found others through social media and recorded those players all over the world. So we were able to get true Afghan traditional players from wherever they happened to be in the world.”