I’ve been reporting on the Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon for years, because I care deeply about art and Earth. So I’ve been looking forward to interviewing co-founder and director, Nora Twomey, especially now that her empowering adaptation of The Breadwinner has arrived, with the aid of Angelina Jolie, to shine a light back on Afghanistan, which is still in the crosshairs of the longest war in American history. The time has come.
Animation is the Ultimate Expression of Hope: An Interview with The Breadwinner’s Nora Twomey and Saara Chaudry
High above Hollywood, a capital of escapism, director Nora Twomey is talking about the need for empathy, in a war-torn world on the brink of global catastrophe.
Two nights before, executive producer Angelina Jolie premiered their animated wonder, The Breadwinner — an adaptation of Deborah Ellis’ novel about an Afghan girl who pretends to be a boy to survive the Taliban on the eve of the longest war in American history — to a festival audience demanding respect for animation as cinema.
Now speaking softly but earnestly about animation’s universal language, Twomey, who co-founded the impressive Irish studio Cartoon Saloon with Paul Young (executive producer of The Breadwinner) and Tomm Moore (director of Song of the Sea), is sounding like another leader we need in the charge toward a more productive, relevant art form.
“We’re in a time when we are looking to pull cultures apart, and tell them they don’t have the right to tell their stories, which is the opposite of what we should be doing,” Twomey told me in a Hollywood hotel suite adjacent to the Animation Is Film festival, shared with Saara Chaudry, the voice of The Breadwinner’s persevering protagonist, Parvana. “We should all be trying to tell each other’s stories, to understand and participate in each other’s stories, so that we can learn about each other and have some of hope for the future.”