Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef and her mother Soriya Basir had an inspiring meet with actor/activist Angelina Jolie on Sunday (September 10th) at the TIFF screening of The Breadwinner, an animated film Jolie executive produced about an 11-year-old girl in Afghanistan living under Taliban rule.
MP Maryam Monsef and Angelina Jolie at TIFF screening of Jolie's The Breadwinner
Monsef says the book and movie speaks to her for many reasons: "It's the story of an 11-year-old Parvana's journey of survival in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and her attempt to help her family as the breadwinner. Breadwinner tells the story of Afghanistan through the eyes of a child. For years, Ellis has shined light on the struggles and resiliency of Afghan people and the strength of women and girls of Afghanistan. With the animation of The Breadwinner, we are all reminded once again to never underestimate the power of a girl."
Monsef tells PTBOCanada that she and her mom had a memorable few minutes with Jolie: "She is proud of Canada's role in the world as we progress gender equality and promote diversity. She also said that of all the places she goes to, she is happiest when she is surrounded by the women of Afghanistan. She doesn't know what it is about them, she just feels connected to them."
Monsef's mother even received this hug from Angelina...
Photo courtesy Maryam Monsef
Monsef, who says Angelina is beautiful inside and out, adds that she told the actress this at the meeting: "I thanked her for helping to tell the story of Afghan people, and she said she would continue to do so."
Monsef also "fan-girled huge" when she met the Breadwinner author Ellis (pictured 2nd from left below)...
Monsef came away very moved by her experience at the TIFF screening:
"Teachers in Peterborough often call me and Mom to come in and talk to their students after they read The Breadwinner," Monsef tells PTBOCanada. "The kids always had many questions and such compassion. Seeing all the kids in the audience yesterday and talking to Angelina and others involved made me appreciate the deliberate efforts to focus content like this on children as the audience. They will grow up to fix this broken world and it's never too early to teach compassion."