US Premiere of New Rare Disease Documentary I AM BREATHING Coming This September
August 23, 2013
U.S. THEATRICAL PREMIERE:
New York at IFC Center, Sept. 6-12
Los Angeles at Laemmle Music Hall, Sept. 13-19
Nationwide outreach screenings to be announced soon
I AM BREATHING is a film about a man who, when faced with the unimaginable shares his own story in what he called, “a tale of fun and laughs with a smattering of upset and devastation.”
Within a year, Neil Platt goes from being a healthy 30-something British bloke, with a great sense of humor, to becoming completely paralyzed from the neck down, thanks to the devastating illness he has inherited, ALS. As his body gets weaker, his perspective on life
changes. His humor remains, and a new wisdom emerges:
“It’s amazing how adaptable we are when we have to be. It’s what separates us and defines us as human beings.” Neil Platt
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 and communicates his experience and thoughts about life in a blog – and in this film, which he was determined to make. The directness of his communication mingles with images of the sensory details of a life well lived, and makes us revalue the ordinary.
His blog posts form the film’s narration as he tells his own story through memories and impressions of his life – the sheer joy of falling in love, of partying with his mates, of fast motorbike rides. Through his determination to share his final journey, Neil makes us ask questions about our own lives.
Open City Docs Fest, London, UK, 2013
Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh, UK, 2013
Docs Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, 2013
Dok.Fest, Munich, Germany, 2013
HotDocs, Toronto, Canada, 2013
FidaDoc, Agadir, Morocco, 2013
River Run, Winston-Salem, USA, 2013
Cleveland International Film Festival, Cleveland, USA, 2013
Documentary Edge, Auckland, New Zealand, 2013
True/False, Columbia, USA, 2013
Tempo Film Festival, Stockholm, Sweden, 2013
ZagrebDox, Zagreb, Croatia, 2013
DocPoint, Helsinki, Finland, 2013
ART DocFest, Moscow, Russia, 2012
IDFA, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2012
Neil Platt was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) also known as MND or
Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2008. Sadly, he lost his own personal battle with the disease a year
later, but through his family, friends and this documentary he wanted to continue to raise
awareness around this devastating illness.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis has been described as the last truly incurable disease of the
modern day. ALS/MND is a rapidly progressive and fatal disease. It can affect any adult at
any time and attacks the motor neurons that send messages from the brain to the muscles,
leaving people unable to walk, talk or feed themselves.
The French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot first described ALS/MND in 1874. The term
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis describes a group of related diseases, affecting the motor
nerves or neurons in the brain and spinal cord which pass messages to the muscles telling
them what to do. The cause of the disease is unknown and there is no known cure.
Neil Platt was among the small proportion (5-10%) of people with ALS/MND who have a
family history of the disease, caused by genetic mistakes that can be passed from one
generation to the next.
In the past year, researchers have identified a repeated six-letter expanse of genetic code
(called a hexanucleotide repeat expansion) in a gene called C9ORF72 that can cause 40% of
cases of familial ALS/MND. This game-changing discovery means that we now know the
genetic cause of approximately 70% of cases of familial ALS/MND, which includes 12 genetic
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