It was announced today at the VFX Summit in Dublin that the Cartoon Saloon and Aircraft Pictures production is closing finance now.

Financing is being completed now for the animated feature The Breadwinner, based on Deborah Ellis’  bestselling and influential novel.

Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon (The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea) and Canada’s Aircraft Pictures (Cybergeddon, Todd & The Book of Pure Evil) are partnering on the animated family feature.

Paul Young, co-founder of Cartoon Saloon, announced at the VFX Summit in Dublin today that production is expected to begin on the film in April 2015, with a theatrical launch planned for 2017. StudioCanal will release the film in the UK, building on its work with Cartoon Saloon’s Oscar nominee The Secret of Kells and the forthcoming Song of the Sea.

Cartoon Saloon partner Nora Twomey [pictured], who co-directed Kells, will direct.

The Breadwinner tells the story of Parvana, a young girl living under Taliban rule in Afghanistan who disguises herself as a boy to support her family when her father is unfairly imprisoned.

Ellis adapted the screenplay with Anita Doron (The End of Silence).

The $10m production has backing from Telefilm Canada, the Irish Film Board, and private investment from Los Angeles and the Middle East, plus organisations including The Belinda Stronach Foundation and Regina Spirit Fund.

“I thought it would take ages to raise money for it,” said Young. “But a lot of people are motivated by the subject matter.”

Nobel prizewinner Malala Yousafzai recently told The New York Times that The Breadwinner was the top book she’d recommend to young women.

The film will develop a massive tie-in with schools, as the book is already a part of a lot of curriculums.

Cartoon Saloon is also starting season two work on its new show Puffin Rock, which has Chris O’Dowd among the voice cast and will be broadcast by RTE Jr and Nick Jr. Partners on that show are Dog Ears and Penguin.