28 February 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Irish Filmmaker Simon Fitzmaurice Has Passed Away
27 Oct 2017 : Nathan Griffin
The inspirational writer and director has passed away following a long fought battle with motor neuron disease.

Fitzmaurice, who was in his early forties, was diagnosed with the disease in 2008 following a promising start to his filmmaking career in which he had made two award-winning shorts (Full Circle, The Sound of People).

Simon was diagnosed the same day that his wife, Ruth, found out she was pregnant with their third child, and although he was initially given only 4 years to live he defied the odds and fathered two more children, twins Hunter and Sadie as well as Arden, Raife and Jack.

Fitzmaurice went on to chronicle his experience with motor neuron disease writing his bestselling book, 'It's Not Yet Dark' (2014), which was adapted into a feature film that was narrated by Colin Farrell and directed by Frankie Fenton (2016), and was nominated for an IFTA at the 2017 awards ceremony.

In 2015, despite his illness Simon wrote and directed his first feature-length film, 'My Name is Emily', which starred Evanna Lynch, Martin McCann, Cathy Belton and Michael Smiley. The film also received multiple IFTA nominations.

'It's Not Yet Dark' (2016), follows Fitzmaurice as he embarks on his directorial debut, directing the entire movie through the use of eye-gaze technology. 'It's Not Yet Dark' (2017), opened in cinemas in Ireland on Friday, October 13th. 

Speaking with IFTN earlier this month, Director Frankie Fenton had this to say about the film:

“I think the film, and more so the story of Simon, his words, and what he says really hits people on a very emotional plain, sometimes people feel that it is more than just a film. Some people react like they are guilty because they can see what Simon can do with just his eyes but I think that misses the point, I think the real point of the film is that it is a love story, not only a romantic one but a love story of family and friends and what that kind of support can do, and what you can do when you have that kind of support around you. Most people get that.”

Ruth Fitzmaurice has also written a book about her family's experience of coping with the diagnosis and living with motor neuron disease in 'I Found My Tribe.'

Simon Fitzmaurice passed away on Thursday, October 26th, 2017.

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