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New Irish Films, The Breadwinner and Mary Shelley, to Receive World Premieres at Toronto International Film Festival

25th Jul 2017

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) congratulates the teams behind The Breadwinner and Mary Shelley, which have been selected to premiere the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival this September.

The latest feature from the Academy-Award-nominated Irish animation studio, Cartoon Saloon, The Breadwinner marks the directorial feature debut of Nora Twomey, with the film screening as a Special Presentation at the festival. Haifaa Al-Monsour’s Mary Shelley from Parallel Films (Brooklyn), will screen as a Gala Presentation on the first weekend.

The Breadwinner tells the story of 11-year-old Parvana, who gives up her identity to provide for her family and to try to save her father’s life. Produced by Paul Young of Kilkenny’s Cartoon Saloon (Song of the SeaThe Secret of Kells) alongside Canada's Aircraft Pictures, and Luxembourg's Melusine Productions, Angelina Jolie serves as the title’s executive producer.

Commenting on the selection, James Hickey, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board Chief Executive said: "The Toronto International Film Festival often kick starts awards season and premieres some of the best films in the world every year. We are delighted to have these two Irish films feature in key slots in the TIFF line-up.

"I'm very much looking forward to international audiences embracing The Breadwinner which was produced in Kilkenny and highlights up-and-coming Irish director Nora Twomey whom we have supported over the last number of years as she has developed her career. Both Song of the Sea and The Secret of Kells had their World Premiers at TIFF before going on to be Oscar-nominated at the Academy Awards. Mary Shelley is a beautiful story produced by the multi-award winning Irish company Parallel Films and is a co-production which will highlight locations around Dublin and Wicklow to audiences around the world.” he added.

Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour, Mary Shelley examines the life of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin; the author of one of the world’s most famous books—Frankenstein. The film follows Wollstonecraft’s fiery and tempestuous relationship with the poet Percy Shelley, recounting how the two eloped to Lake Geneva, where, in Lord Byron’s house, Mary gives birth to Frankenstein’s Monster. It is brilliant, but women don’t write books and publishers won’t print them. Mary must now fight for her creature and identity, all at the age of eighteen.

Produced by Alan Moloney and Ruth Coady at Parallel Films, Amy Baer at Gidden Media in co-production with Juliette Films, Mary Shelley features an all-star cast including Elle Fanning, Douglas Booth and Tom Sturridge.

The Breadwinner director Nora Twomey said "On behalf of the entire cast and crew of The Breadwinner, I am absolutely delighted that the film will premiere at TIFF. Toronto is home to so many of our talented team and is where the idea to adapt the book was first formed. This will complete a full circle for The Breadwinner film and I hope audiences enjoy it as much as we've enjoyed making it."

Ahead of the title’s TIFF world premiere, Parallel’s Alan Moloney and Ruth Coady said:

"We are thrilled that Mary Shelley has been selected for a gala screening on the Saturday night of the Toronto International Film Festival. This is an extremely prestigious slot and it's a measure of how highly they value the film. We are extremely proud of the movie and greatly look forward to showing the world the story of this extraordinary woman who at 18 years of age wrote one of the most enduring and influential novels in the history of literature and spawned a genre that has influenced generations since.

"Her love story with Percy Shelley is passionate, tempestuous and extremely moving and we cannot wait to show it to audiences around the world. We are indebted to the IFB for their help in bringing the film to fruition and delighted that this movie allows us to follow up on our previous successes together."

The Breadwinner is an Ireland/Canada/Luxembourg co-production while Mary Shelley is an Ireland/UK/Luxembourg co-production with both titles supported by the IFB. 

The 42nd annual Toronto International Film Festival will take place from 7 to 17 September 2017.

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