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The film, a romance and road movie about a teenage girl who leaves a foster home with a friend to find her father, who is locked up in a psychiatric institution, is the debut feature from Simon Fitzmaurice and stars Lynch as title character Emily.
Fitzmaurice was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease in 2008, shortly after his second short film, The Sound of People, screened at the Sundance Film Festival. The disease affects the cells that control voluntary muscle activity, including speaking, walking, swallowing and general movement.
He typed the script for My Name Is Emily, alongside his best-selling book It’s Not Yet Dark, using his eyes and iris recognition software. In an unusual approach for cinema, he directed the film using the same method.
“Making this film is the realization of a serious amount of work and love from my wonderful producers,” said Fitzmaurice in a statement. “We are surrounded by the most committed group of cast and crew it has been my pleasure to work with. For me, it has been worth every effort just to be here on set in the calm at the center of the hurricane.”
My Name Is Emily, which is being distributed by Eclipse in Ireland and has already secured TV slots in Sweden, has been financed by the Irish Film Board, BAI, TV3 and the Irish tax incentive program. Co-production funding is also coming from Sweden and Norway via Garagefilm International and Paradox.
“After I read the script, it and Emily were all I could think about for weeks. It is so different to anything I’ve read and yet so real and dynamic, and it is an absolute privilege and a joy to have the opportunity to help bring My Name Is Emily to life with Simon and his team,” said Lynch.
She added: “Simon is an incredible person, and he is embracing challenges the like that no director has had to contend with before, and it is awe-inspiring simply to be in the midst of that.”
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