Angelina Jolie, an executive producer for the animated feature The Breadwinner, says the film draws attention to a critical international issue: women's empowerment.

"The vulnerability of girls around the world is something that we just can't do enough to bring attention to and to focus on," she told CBC News in an exclusive interview at the film's Los Angeles premiere.

The filmmaker-actress is one of dozens of women who have come forward with stories of harassment, abuse and mistreatment from disgraced movie titan Harvey Weinstein.

First time speaking with media since scandal

This is the first time Jolie has spoken to media since her revelation in a New York Times report that she "had a bad experience" with Weinstein when she was younger and "chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did."

Angelina Jolie discusses the 'vulnerability' of girls at The Breadwinner premiere in L.A.1:17

The film, based on a young adult novel by Canadian author Deborah Ellis, is about an Afghan girl, Parvana, forced to dress as a boy to help her family survive when her father is imprisoned.

Set in 2001, The Breadwinner weaves a strong message about the importance of standing up for oneself and supporting girls and women, themes now resonating closer to home.

'Important for men to step forward'

"It's a reminder that today is no different," said Anthony Leo, one of two Canadian producers who worked on the film. "As much as when it was in Parvana's story in 2001, it's important for men to step forward and to voice their support of women.


The cast and crew of The Breadwinner, which premiered in L.A. Friday, includes Canadian producers Anthony Leo (far right) and Andrew Rosen (second from left) as well as Saara Chaudry (second from right), who voiced the main character. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

"Supporting women can mean fighting for girls' education, it can mean supporting women in the workplace, it can mean providing equal opportunities on film sets, behind the scenes, in front of the camera — all of those things. So its our responsibility as men to step forward."

Jolie, who travels to war-torn areas through her humanitarian work with the United Nations, did not address the Weinstein scandal but explained why the film spoke to her.

"It sheds light on a country that I think is an extraordinary country but has been through so much," said Jolie. "It sheds light on girls' issues, and war, poverty, violence."