Nora recently talked to John Meagher from the Irish Independent about her journey getting to where she is today.
She dropped out of school at 15 and took a factory job before finding her calling in animation. Now, Cork's Nora Twomey - one of the founders of the Oscar-nominated Cartoon Saloon - is working with Angelina Jolie and has been hailed by Variety as one to watch.
It may be one of the most creative places in the country - and a leading light in Ireland's renaissance as an animation nation - but the studios of Cartoon Saloon are easy to miss. Located in a lane-way close to St Mary's Cathedral in the heart of Kilkenny city, this innocuous- looking building would be easily overlooked if you were none the wiser. Those who visit this vibrant tourist town might expect a place that has twice been Oscar-nominated to be a bit more visible, but the trio behind it seem to like it just the way it is.
We are so happy to bring to you the official trailer for our upcoming feature film,
The Breadwinner. Based on the best-selling children's novel by Deborah Ellis, The Breadwinner tells the story of 11 year old Parvana who gives up her identity to provide for her family and try to save her father's life. Parvana's father Nurullah had told stories about history and imagination to Parvana as she helped him in the marketplace of Taliban controlled Kabul in the year 2001.
A lovely sunny day in May saw His Royal Highness, The Price of Wales and Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall visit our sleepy little town. They stopped off to have a cup of tea with Tomm, Paul and Nora and to watch a teaser of The Breadwinner.
After leaving school early and working in a factory for a time, a lifelong love of drawing drew Irish animator Twomey back to school to study fine arts at 22. “I decided to study animation because it was a means to draw, and I knew that if I went into animation I could draw every day,” she recalls. That’s where she met fellow animators Tomm Moore and Paul Young, and together they founded Cartoon Saloon, the studio behind the Oscar-nominated films 2009’s “The Secret of Kells,” which Twomey co-directed with Moore, and 2014’s “Song of the Sea.”
Now Twomey is directing her first solo effort for the Kilkenny, Ireland-based studio, an adaptation of “The Breadwinner,” about a young girl who masquerades as a boy to help provide for her family in Afghanistan during Taliban rule. Cartoon Saloon was approached by Aircraft Pictures about partnering on the adaptation, and when Twomey read the Deborah Ellis novel, she knew she had to do it. “The book is so simple, but in a very beautiful way,” Twomey says. “The way [Ellis] draws the world, it speaks volumes.”
Since making an animated film is a long process, “You want to make sure you really want to get involved in the projects you get involved in,” she says, and “The Breadwinner,” which will be released in the U.S. in the fall by Gkids, was something she really wanted to do. “It’s not often you get a sense like that.”
The project also attracted Angelina Jolie, who came on board as a producer at the script stage. “She been a tremendous source of guidance,” says Twomey. “With a film as subtle and as sensitive as this, we’ve looked toward Angelina and our Afghan advisers to make sure we’re telling the story in the best way possible.”