Cameras are set to roll today on Simon Fitzmaurice’s debut feature film My Name is Emily. Evanna Lynch, known worldwide for her role as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films will star in the title role as Emily. Evanna will be joined by acclaimed Irish actor Michael Smiley (Kill List, A Field in England) to play her father Robert and newcomer George Webster will play Arden.
Award-winning film director and writer and father of 5, Simon Fitzmaurice was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease (ALS) in 2008 – just after his 2nd short film The Sound Of People screened at the Sundance Film festival. Although now completely paralysed, he has typed the script for the film, as well as his best-selling book It’s Not Yet Dark by using his eyes and iris recognition software.
My Name is Emily is essentially a road movie, and a love story between two teens. On her 16th birthday, Emily escapes from her foster home and with the help of Arden, the boy who loves her, she sets out to find her father Robert, a visionary writer locked up in a psychiatric institution.
Lynch said: [quote]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. 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.[/quote]
Celebrated actor Michael Smiley described it as [quote]It’s one of the most beautiful scripts I’ve read in a long time, it’s great to be involved and it will be really interesting to see how the work progresses.[/quote]
The film is an early roadmark in the career of young actor George Webster, who is enthused by the project [quote]Not only is it an honour and a privilege to be part of the team that’s helping Simon to realise his dream…but it’s also incredibly exciting to be able to work with a script as good as this one, so early on in my career[/quote]
My Name is Emily is being produced by Irish companies Newgrange Pictures and Kennedy Films and has been financed by the Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland (FÉ/SI) is the national development agency for Irish filmmaking and the Irish film, television and animation industry., BAI, TV3 and the Irish tax incentive. There is also co-production finance coming from Sweden and Norway. The Irish producers ran a highly successful crowd-funding campaign in November last year which raised over €100,000 towards the costs of enabling Simon to realise his film.
Writer/Director Fitzmaurice says [quote]Making this film is the realization of a serious amount of work and love from my wonderful producers. We are surrounded by the most committed group of cast and crew it has been my pleasure to work with. For me, it is worth every effort just to be there on set in the calm at the centre of the hurricane.[/quote]
Producers Kathryn Kennedy and Lesley McKimm have said: [quote]It has been such a great and inspiring experience to work with Simon over the past two years of development and financing and we are absolutely delighted that he is finally getting to direct this wonderful film.[/quote]
CEO of the Irish Film Board, James Hickey, has weighed in too saying [quote]Simon’s courage, passion and dedication is remarkable. The Irish Film Board is delighted to be supporting My Name is Emily[/quote]