Maureen Lee Lenker
November 17, 2017 AT 03:33 PM EST

As an Academy Award winning actress, director, and activist, Angelina Jolie has quite the body of work to her credit. So when Nora Twomey, the director of animated film The Breadwinner, learned of the possibility of Jolie producing her film, she was a bit intimidated. “It was initially daunting, I guess quite scary,” she tells EW. “Working with Angeline Jolie was flying through the airport in the morning and looking at pictures of Angelina Jolie on a newsstands and then going into a meeting with her.”

Jolie immediately signed on to produce the project, based on a 2000 novel about a young girl named Parvana living in Afghanistan under Taliban rule and struggling to support her family.

“I loved the opportunity to tell the story of Afghanistan, to bring to life a country that is little understood, that is conflicted and confused and way too complex anywhere outside of a story,” explains screenwriter Anita Doron.

The film with its tale of female empowerment in a nation embroiled in conflict is in Jolie’s wheelhouse, particularly because she has long supported girls’ schools in Afghanistan.

“She came on at an early stage and from that time on really helped look through every animatic and just helped give guidance on it,” explains Twomey. “Very much having a connection with Afghanistan herself, she supports girls schools in Afghanistan and has done for over a decade, she was able to help us focus. It was a fine line in terms of the sensitivity of the film.”

The Breadwinner hits theaters on Friday. Watch the clip above for more about the film.

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