'An incredible vote of confidence' - The Breadwinner director Nora Twomey on film's Oscar nomination

The Irish filmmaker says "the real thrill was getting to work on the film itself"

'An incredible vote of confidence' - The Breadwinner director Nora Twomey on film's Oscar nomination

Nora Twomey and Angelina Jolie. Picture by: Admedia/Zuma Press/PA Images

An Irish animation director who is celebrating an Oscar nomination today says the real thrill was getting to work on the film itself.

Nora Twomey is the director of The Breadwinner, which is up against the likes of Pixar's Coco for this year's best animated feature film.

She is a co-founder of the Kilkenny-based Cartoon Saloon, and today's announcement marks her second Oscar nomination following her work as co-director on The Secret of Kells. The studio was also nominated for Song of the Sea in 2015.

Today, Nora heard about the studio's latest nomination while on lunch break.

She told Moncrieff: "We were upstairs in the crew room... we were having our cup of tea and sandwiches, and we put on the live streaming."

The film - which is executive produced by Angelina Jolie - has received widespread critical acclaim, and a rake of awards nominations in recent weeks & months. However, Nora says the nod from the Academy was never a sure thing.

She explained: "We knew that our film was up there for sure. But it was a bit of a strange year, because the rules had changed around the voting process and that. It was certainly not a sure thing by any stretch - but very welcome, as you can imagine."

The Breadwinner is based on a novel by Deborah Ellis, following a young girl's experiences in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. It's a co-production between Canada, Ireland and Luxembourg - meaning the film receiving funding from a number of sources, including the Irish Film Board.

Nora said: "There's a lot of freedom that comes with making independent films. We'd have been lucky to have €10 million - we actually had €9.2 million. But there's a freedom that comes with that, because you don't have funding from one particular source. You have funding from different sources.

"You have a freedom as a filmmaker to tell stories that wouldn't ordinarily get told, or stories that have a bit of a more challenging subject matter."

The trip to Los Angeles for the Oscars ceremony in March will be Nora's third trip over, and she describes it as a "tremendous event" and "an incredible thing to witness".

While she says the Oscar nomination is "really, really fantastic" and an "incredible vote of confidence" in the film, she believes the real thrill was getting to work on the film itself.

She observed: "I've been with Cartoon Saloon from the beginning. I'm one of the partners in the country - I co-directed The Secret of Kells, I was the head of story on Song of the Sea. For me, and for all of us working on these films, the big thrill is getting to work with two or three hundred people.

"The thrill is the actual making the film itself. The rest of it is a little bit strange, honestly. It feels a little bit like you're flicking through a magazine, except you're there! It's completely out of the ordinary."

The Breadwinner is set to be released in Ireland in May, with a preview screening already announced for the Dublin International Film Festival on February 22nd.