Tuesday 27 September 2016

Inspirational film director with Motor Neuron Disease premieres film which he typed and directed with his eyes

Geraldine Gittens

Published 16/09/2015 | 15:26

Simon Fitzmaurice, Irish film director with Motor Neuron Disease.
Simon Fitzmaurice, Irish film director with Motor Neuron Disease.

Inspirational film maker Simon Fitzmaurice has appeared at the Toronto International Film Festival to show his film which took five years to make.

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The film maker wrote My Name is Emily with an iris-recognition screen - effectively typing with his eyes. He went on to direct the film using the same method, and completed it in early 2015.

My Name is Emily is one of 30 features by first and second-time international directors which has been selected by The Toronto International Film Festival as one to watch.

Fitzmaurice said: “Getting to Toronto is the result of a lot of people's work and support, including Culture Ireland, and I'm so grateful to everyone involved.”

The film maker was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease in 2008, just after his second short film The Sound Of People screened at the prestigious Sundance Film festival. 

The father-of-three  - who Film Ireland described as “Ireland’s most promising film-maker” – hasn’t allowed his disease to affect his dream of becoming a feature film director.

Culture Ireland sponsored Simon to enable him to represent his film and Ireland at TIFF as transportation costs for Simon are more expensive than usual, with extra care staff required and special seating space on planes and cars

Minister of State Minister of State with responsibility for New Communities, Culture and Equality, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD, said: “Simon Fitzmaurice is a hugely talented award winning Irish film maker and I am delighted that Culture Ireland is supporting his presence at Toronto International Film Festival to attract the attention both he and his film deserve worldwide.”

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