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Help get an Irish film made

November 20th, 2013 by Jay Comments

MY NAME IS EMILY is a feature film by Simon Fitzmaurice, an award winning Irish film-maker with Motor Neurone Disease  (ALS). Produced by Kennedy Films and Newgrange Pictures the script is written, but a budget is needed to make it happen – and while there are lots of great films and film makers out there, this project has the backing of names who really know what they are talking about when they say it’s brilliant.

Alan Rickman, a colleague of Nick Dunning, actor and writer and friend of, says “This is an exceptional script that deserves all support.”

EMILY is a teenage girl who runs away from her foster home on her 16th birthday. With her school friend ARDEN, they take an old yellow Renault 4, and set out to rescue Emily’s Father, a visionary writer, locked up in a far-off psychiatric institution. Along the way,  driving across Ireland.. Emily and Arden fall in love. In the end, Emily learns she must face her Father’s madness to find happiness.

Simon Fitzmaurice was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease (ALS) in 2008 – just after his film THE SOUND OF PEOPLE screened at Robert Redford’s Sundance Film festival.

At the time, Simon was the father of 2 children, his wife Ruth was pregnant with their third, and he had been heralded as “Ireland’s most promising film-maker” by Film Ireland

But Simon refused to allow his disease to affect his drive towards becoming a feature film director. In the face of this adversity he wrote the script for MY NAME IS EMILY.

Simon Fitzmaurice began writing the script typing with his hands, and as he lost all physical function, he persisted, finishing it by typing on an iris-recognition screen, with his eyes.

A team of dedicated actors and directors endorsed by Alan Rickman, and including  Jim Sheridan, Nick Dunning, and Kristen Sheridan want to enable Simon to direct his feature film in Spring 2014.  But film-making is a very expensive, challenging and time-consuming process. Motor Neuron Disease (ALS) means that Simon needs more support and more time.

The traditional production model for a feature film has to be adjusted to support Simon and enable him to make MY NAME IS EMILY. The team behind him have to challenge the norms to find a way for Simon to do his job.

Here’s their plan for achieving this and how YOUR DONATIONS will help:


Preparation is key. The more we can map out in prep, the easier it will make the challenge of shooting MY NAME IS EMILY.

Typically there are 8 weeks prep on a feature film.

Due to Simon’s condition MY NAME IS EMILY will need at least 12 weeks. This then translates across all departments and crew.


  • SUPPORT DIRECTOR  – Simon will have a Support Director who will be with him every step of the way as back-up and support. The Support Director will be a facilitator to Simon’s vision at all times.
  • DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY – Simon’s creative partner Ivan McCullough will begin full-time preparation with Simon at a much earlier stage then on a usual production. Together they will work closely with a STORYBOARD ARTIST mapping out every frame before they go to shoot.
  • FIRST ASSISTANT DIRECTOR – Our 1st AD will also begin prep much earlier working out shooting schedules and timetables that can work for Simon.
  • LOCATIONS MANAGER - While searching for locations that suit the film, the Locations Manager will also have the additional and important task of ensuring all locations are accessible for Simon


A typical low budget feature film shoot is 5 weeks. MY NAME IS EMILY will be at least 8 weeks, allowing for shorter shooting days, but with more of them. 

Simon’s mobility and access to set is hugely important. He will need special transport, ramps, Eye-Gaze screen hardware and batteries, weather protection gear.

For example, they will be aiming to have a specialised van which can serve as Simon’s base when on set. A place for Simon to have TV monitors to watch the performances on set while the camera is rolling, as the sound from Simon’s ventilator means that he can’t be next to camera at these times.

Filmmaking is an incredibly physically and mentally exhausting challenge. But with the right amount of preparation and supports in place, they will ENABLE SIMON to achieve this film, but he needs your help.

With all of the above to consider, they have to allow EXTRA BUDGET and these extra support requirements equates to the 200,000 euro that they want to raise on indiegogo. 

Click the link to see more videos about the project and to DONATE – as little as $10 will make a huge difference – and you get something back for every donation – go take a look!

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Jay says that he is a writer, martial artist, sketcher, and dreamer but mostly just a husband and father. Since getting married to the wonderful and patient woman of his dreams, and becoming a father (of two young boys), he has fallen into the category of 'lapsed nerd' as he is a former RPer, Live Role-Player, and comic book junkie. Science fiction and fantasy books are the staple of his shelves - both in terms of books and movies ... however, he's never seen Star Wars (any of them) but please don't hold that against him! He is currently trying to find a medical cure for the thing called sleep, as it is interferring with the thing he calls life. If you want to know more about him go to

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