TORONTO: Afghanistan is going to the Oscars. Or is that Ontario going to the Oscars? Wait. What?
The critically acclaimed Ontario family feature film, “The Breadwinner”, based on the international bestselling book of the same name by Ontario author Deborah Ellis, has been nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Animated Feature category.
It tells the story of Parvana, an eleven year-old Afghan girl who disguises herself as a boy to provide for her family when her father is arrested by the Taliban.
It’s an independent film up against the big-budget Pixar film Coco and other unique animated treasures, so it needs your love and accolades before the big Oscar show on March 4 (CTV in Canada; check local listings). And in the meantime, the filmmakers and financiers are bursting with pride over the film’s award-winning journey to the most prestigious international awards show on planet earth.
“Everyone at the OMDC is very proud that we have supported “The Breadwinner” from page to screen, and now onto the awards circuit, which of course increases its chance of being seen by audiences at home and around the globe,” said Karen Thorne-Stone, President and CEO of the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), a government agency which supports Ontario’s creative industries, including books and cinema.
““The Breadwinner”’s remarkable success to date showcases the breadth and depth of the creative talent we have in Ontario, and proves we can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the world’s best filmmakers.”
“The Breadwinner” is a Canadian co-production–with Ireland and Luxembourg–that boasts a Hollywood movie star with a humanitarian soul as its Executive Producer: Angelina Jolie.
The feature film premiered at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival last fall, received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics around the world, and has delighted audiences everywhere it’s played since then.
“We are thrilled that “The Breadwinner” has been nominated for one of the biggest awards in the industry,” said Aircraft Pictures’ Executive Producer Andrew Rosen, the Ontario production company that pulled this whole thing together. “We always knew this was a special story, but we could never have brought it to life so beautifully without the wealth of talent and creativity we tapped into here in Ontario, nor without the incredible support of the OMDC.”
The OMDC supported “The Breadwinner” and its creators at several important junctures. In 2009, OMDC helped connect Groundwood Books, which published “The Breadwinner” in 2000, with Aircraft Pictures, a production company which eventually bought the film rights.
The connection was made at From Page to Screen, an annual OMDC event which connects book publishers with movie producers.
OMDC later supported a visit by Aircraft Pictures to the film festival in Cannes, France, to build industry connections. The Ontario filmmakers met with the Irish animation company Cartoon Saloon, in New York City, with support from OMDC and decided to work together on the project. Luxembourg-based Melusine Productions later joined as a third partner. Toronto-based Guru Studios, another OMDC success story, also helped work on the film’s animation.
“The Breadwinner” has also been nominated for six Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Motion Picture, and that show will be broadcast March 11 on CBC (check local listings).
In 2017, “The Breadwinner” won the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards’ and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards’ for Best Animated Feature, and in both cases, it was up against Coco. So there’s hope that this little Ontario movie can beat a studio blockbuster in 2018. Fingers crossed.
The film and television industry is big business in Ontario where approximately $1.6 billion of activity takes place annually, thanks to world class crews and creative talent, state-of-the-art facilities, endless locations, and support from agencies like the OMDC, home to the Ontario Film Commission, which is the province’s “concierge” for screen-based productions. For more information about OMDC and its programs, please visit www.omdc.on.ca