Simon Fitzmaurice

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Simon Fitzmaurice
Bornc. 1973
DiedOctober 26, 2017(2017-10-26) (aged 43–44)
NationalityIrish
Notable work
It's Not Yet Dark
My Name Is Emily
Spouse(s)Ruth O'Neill
Children5
Parent(s)Damien and Florence Fitzmaurice

Simon Fitzmaurice (c. 1973 – 26 October 2017) – was an Irish filmmaker. A resident of Greystones, County Wicklow, Fitzmaurice published a memoir titled It's Not Yet Dark in 2014 about his experience with motor neurone disease. He directed My Name Is Emily while living with the condition in 2015.

Career[edit]

Fitzmaurice's second short film, The Sound of People, premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Soon after, he was diagnosed with a motor neurone disease, which gradually left him completely paralyzed.[1]

With the disease, he wrote and directed the feature film My Name Is Emily, which was released in 2015.[2][3] Starring Evanna Lynch, Michael Smiley, and George Webster, it tells the story of a teenager who leaves her foster home to free her father from a mental hospital.[4] My Name Is Emily was nominated for eight Irish Film & Television Academy Awards; Fitzmaurice received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 London Screenwriters' Festival for the work.[1]

It's Not Yet Dark, a memoir, chronicles his experience living in a motorized wheelchair and communicating using an eye-tracking computer.[5] The memoir was followed by the documentary It's Not Yet Dark, directed by Frankie Fenton. The documentary was narrated by Irish actor Colin Farrell.[6]

Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) conferred Simon Fitzmaurice with an Honorary Doctorate at a graduation ceremony at St Patrick's Cathedral in November 2016.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Fitzmaurice was married to Ruth Fitzmaurice, with whom he had five children. Irish filmmaker with his wife, children, and parents.[5]

His funeral was held two days later at St Kilian's Roman Catholic Church in Greystones, attended by, among others, Lieut Cmdr Patricia Butler (aide-de-camp to President Michael D. Higgins), Fianna Fáil politician Stephen Donnelly, broadcaster Maia Dunphy, and James Vincent McMorrow, who performed one of Fitzmaurice’s favourite songs "We Don't Eat".[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "'His dreams were bigger than his illness' - filmmaker Simon Fitzmaurice". Irish Independent. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b D'Arcy, Ciarán (28 October 2017). "Director Simon Fitzmaurice's funeral told of 'love of life, family'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  3. ^ Gillette, Sam (2 August 2017). "Irish Filmmaker Battling A.LS. Calls Poignant New Memoir 'A Letter to Each of My Children'". People. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  4. ^ Shattuck, Kathryn (22 February 2017). "In the Face of A.L.S., Simon Fitzmaurice Finds His Fire Inside". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  5. ^ a b O'Brien, Tim (27 October 2017). "Greystones-based film-maker Simon Fitzmaurice". The Irish Times. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  6. ^ Kelly, Aoife (8 October 2017). "'Simon made his legacy - I just got to colour it up a little' - director of It's Not Yet Dark documentary about Irish filmmaker Simon Fitzmaurice who has MND". Irish Independent. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Farewell to inspirational Simon Fitzmaurice". Dublin Institute of Technology. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2018.