Toronto’s Guru Studio and New York-based animation distributor GKIDS have come onboard the production of Cartoon Saloon’s The Breadwinner, which moved into animation production last month.
Guru, which produces TV series like Netflix’s Justin Time and the Nick Jr. series Paw Patrol, will contribute to the production of the film. Additionally, two artists from Guru will take on major roles: Stuart Shankly (Ever After High, Song of the Sea) will serve as assistant director, alongside Breadwinner director Nora Twomey, and Sanatan Suryavanshi will work as production art supervisor, alongside Cartoon Saloon’s sequence director and art directors, to develop the look of some of the film’s sequences.
“Guru was the clear choice when considering Canadian animation studios to work with,” said producer Anthony Leo, of Aircraft Pictures, an existing Canadian partner on the film. “They will bring another level of creativity and artistic vision to this picture.”
Guru’s president and creative director Frank Falcone and EVP content and strategy Mary Bredin will serve as executive producers on the film.
Also announced this week, GKIDS, which distributed Cartoon Saloon’s previous Oscar-nominated features The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea, has increased its involvement in the film. The company’s two figureheads, CEO/founder Eric Beckman and SVP of distribution David Jesteadt, will come onboard as executive producers.
For GKIDS, it is the first time they are serving in a producing and financing capacity, in addition to distribution. They’ve slated The Breadwinner for a fall 2017 theatrical release in North America.
“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,” Beckman and Jesteadt said in a statement. “We’re thrilled that this film marks our first foray into the creative process and we look forward to supporting Nora [Twomey] and the team in bringing their vision to audiences everywhere.”
The Breadwinner is based on the novel of the same name by Deborah Ellis, telling the story of Parvana, a young girl living under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan who, after her father’s imprisonment, disguises herself as a boy to become the family’s breadwinner. Ellis wrote the screen story, and Anita Doron contributed the screenplay. The film, according to its producers, “celebrates the culture, history and beauty of Afghanistan with a cast that includes many performers of Afghan descent.”
An Ireland-Canada-Luxembourg co-production, Breadwinner also has involvement from Canada’s Aircraft Pictures and Luxembourg’s Melusine Productions, and is being produced in association with Angelina Jolie Pitt’s Jolie Pas Productions.