EIFF kicks off global Motor Neurone Awareness Day

Festival to screen documentary I Am Breathing as part of worldwide collaboration.

by Amber Wilkinson

I Am Breathing will screen on June 20 as part of the 2013 Edinburgh International Film Festival, kicking off a Global Screening Day on June 21 to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease.

The Scottish Documentary Institute and the Motor Neurone Disease Association will collaborate to promote awareness and raise funds with cinema and community screenings of the film all over the world on 21st June 2013. Participating so far are the Balkans, Australia, USA, Finland, Denmark, The Netherlands, Russia and New Zealand.

I Am Breathing is the hard-hitting story of Neil Platt – a 33-year-old Yorkshireman who contracted Motor Neurone’s Disease. Paralysed from the neck down with only months to live, he tells his story to help raise awareness around his devastating disease and dedicates the film to his one-year-old son Oscar. Collaborating with filmmakers Emma Davie and Morag McKinnon, he used his remaining months to communicate about his illness. He also wrote a blog and committedhimself to playing a part in making MND history by inspiring a community ofpeople to join the fight.

I Am Breathing directors Morag McKinnon and Emma Davie said: “When we started filming with Neil, it was very much from his initiative. He put out a request in his blog for anyone involved in the media to come and speak to him. We planned initially to make a short film for MND but somehow his ambition, honesty and desire to communicate pushed it to be a much bigger film. I Am Breathing, like the blog is about creating community around this horrendous disease –reminding us of a humanity in the midst of such suffering. This community grows with every screening – just as Neil planned.”

MNDA director of external affairs of Farah Nazeer said: “We know that raising awareness of MND is incredibly important to our members. I Am Breathing gives us a unique opportunity to reach out and educate peoplewith no previous knowledge of the disease.”

IFF artistic director Chris Fujiwara said, “We’re proud to host the premiere of this shattering film. I Am Breathing is a documentary that says a great deal, with great eloquence and heart, about the ability of humanity to sustain and express itself under the most terrible limitations.”

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