I am breathing

"I AM BREATHING is a documentary about the thin space between life and death."

The award-winning feature documentary I AM BREATHING is playing a major role in a unique global event that will take place on the 21st June this year. As part of Global Awareness Day for motor neurone disease (MND), also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, the film will appear on screens worldwide from Australia to Ukraine with the aim to promote awareness and raise funds for MND research. The UK premiere of I AM BREATHING on the previous day, 20 June, at the Edinburgh International Film Festival will celebrate the launch of this campaign.

Screenings can be hosted by anyone and have already been booked in more than 20 countries the following day. The documentary and awareness for the condition will receive a global push across the globe including in the USA, Iceland, Russia, Estonia, Poland, China, India, Kenya, and Mexico. 

- I Am Breathing

Neil Platt ponders the last months of his life. Within a year, he goes from being a healthy young father to becoming completely paralysed from the neck down. As his body gets weaker, his perspective on life changes.

“Its amazing how adaptable we are when we have to be. Its what separates us and defines us as human beings.”

Knowing he only has a few months left to live, and while he still has the ability to speak, Neil puts together a letter and memory box for his baby son Oscar. How can he make sense of the last 34 years? How can he anticipate what Oscar might want to know about his father in a future Neil can only imagine? He tries to tell the story of his life from his memories and impressions of love, friends and motorbike rides.

Neil faces Motor Neurone Disease with incredible humour and honesty, determined to share this last stage of his life through a blog, which touched many people. With his posts forming the film’s narration, I AM BREATHING tries to listen to Neil as he asks “what makes us human” in the last months of his life.

Motor neurone disease has been described as the last truly incurable disease of the modern day, and in the vast majority of cases it is fatal. MND is a rapidly progressive and fatal disease. It can affect any adult at any time and attacks the motor neurones that send messages from the brain to the muscles, leaving people unable to walk, talk or feed themselves. The cause of the disease is unknown, and there is no known cure

Sometimes films just demand to be made, even if they are difficult. This was one of them. The film was prompted by Neil himself. He wanted to communicate about his experience with MND in the last months of his life. He already had an ever-increasing audience for a blog he was keeping and wanted to reach out further. This in itself was not reason to make the film. Who he became in these last months is what seemed to demand to be communicated. Filming this stage of life is full of ethical dilemmas and questions. We let these questions and interrogations help guide us and shape the structure of the time. It became clearer how to form it when we used Neil’s own words from his blog to tell the story, not just of his body – which was failing – but of his mind and imagination which was limitless, witty and compassionate. We set ourselves the task of asking how the film could get under his skin whilst still respecting the “unknowable” nature of his experience.

- The Motor Neurone Disease Association 

The Motor Neurone Disease Association is the only national charity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that funds and promotes global research into the disease and provides support for people affected by MND. It is only through collaboration that a cure for MND will be found and we organise the world’s largest conference for MND researchers and clinicians. We offer a life-line through accessible information and practical day-to-day support to enable people with MND to live with their diagnosis and achieve the best quality of life possible.

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