It’s Not Yet Dark follows the courageous story of Irish filmmaker, Simon Fitzmaurice, who is living with ALS (MND-Motor Neurone Disease). The documentary begins with Simon in a wheelchair and his wife, Ruth by his side. He cannot swallow or eat on his own but he can feel everything.
The documentary engages with Simon’s family and his wife who happily recall Simon’s wild and artistic lifestyle before his diagnosis. They all cite his enormous love for film and artistic flair as being key traits of Simon. These characteristics were incorporated into a short, The Sound of People. His short was selected as part of Sundance 2008. The trip to Sundance was life changing for him. It was simply a dream come true for him to be there, enjoying the picturesque Park City, Utah and meeting his idol, Robert Redford. During his time at Sundance, he began noticing changes with his body. At 34, he would have never expected these symptoms to evolve into Motor Neurone Disease.
At the peak of his career, after three children, a beautiful and loving wife, the disease was beginning to take over. After his diagnosis, he wonders if it would the last time he would run, dance or speak to his wife and his family or even perform day-to-day routines on his own. He refuses to let the disease define him or eliminate his desire to make a feature film. He longed for the creative process and continued to have ideas he wanted to put into action. With the use of his eyes through eye gaze technology, he wrote and directed his first feature film, My Name is Emily.
Narration from Colin Farrell captures Simon’s words from “It’s Not Yet Dark” (Simon’s memoir of the same title). Simon never shies away from fearing the disease would take his life. Simon’s outlook on the disease was to either accept it or give up. He chose to accept it, but only accept it in a way where it would not impede upon him doing what he loves; film.
It’s Not Yet Dark does not ask for us to take pity on Simon but instead to embrace his strength and belief in himself. Audiences will not only come to respect and admire Simon but to commend his continued thoughtfulness and love for life.
Is It's Not Yet Dark screening worthy?
You cannot help but admire Simon. Not only for his great love for family, and his matter-of-factness towards the disease, but also for his reluctance to give up and allow the ALS to take over. He does not let the disease take away from who he truly is. An artist.
It’s Not Yet Dark screens on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 and Thursday, April 6, 2017 at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema as part of Doc Soup. Check their website for more information.