Angelina Jolie Pitt and her Jolie Pas Productions today signed on with Aircraft Pictures, Cartoon Saloon and Melusine Productions for The Breadwinner, an animated feature based on the best-selling young adult novel by Canadian author Deborah Ellis. Nora Twomey (co-director, Oscar-nominee The Secret of Kells) will direct with screen story by Ellis and screenplay by Anita Doron.

The Breadwinner ArtworkIt’s the story of Parvana, an Afghan girl living under Taliban rule who disguises herself as a boy to become the breadwinner of the family when her father is unfairly imprisoned. A story of self-empowerment and imagination in the face of oppression, The Breadwinner also celebrates the culture, history and beauty of Afghanistan, according to a statement from the partners. A cut of the film will be produced in Dari in addition to the English-language version.

“Millions of young girls like Parvana are growing up today under oppression or conflict, and helping their families to survive in those conditions,” Jolie Pitt, who will executive produce, said in a release from the producers. “This story is a reminder of the immense value of their contribution. I am delighted to be working with a talented team of artists who I know will do justice to the richness, creativity and strength of Afghan culture and to little girls like Parvana.”

The Breadwinner will be produced by Tomm Moore and Paul Young of the Cartoon Saloon (The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea), Anthony Leo and Andrew Rosen of Aircraft Pictures and Stephan Roelants of Melusine Productions. Executive producing with Jolie Pitt will be Jehane Noujaim & Karim Amer and Gerry Shirren at Cartoon Saloon. It’s  currently casting and in pre-production in advance of an August production start and due for completion in early 2017.

The film was developed with support from Telefilm Canada, the Irish Film Board, the Film Fund Luxembourg, Corus Entertainment, the Harold Greenberg Fund and the Belinda Stronach Foundation.