I love writing to you lot now, you have become my safe place! This is the place where I can say what I like because I know you understand every tear wiped away, every slur in a sentence, every itch that needs scratched and you feel the same fire in your belly to shout to the rest of the world, “Just look this way for once!”
But what an amazing thing has happened out of no-where! YES! I’M TALKING ABOUT THE ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE!!!
Louise Oswald was Neil Platt's wife and has supported the I AM BREATHING campaign so much by sharing the devastating story of his disease in our film, in her blog posts and talks, and – inevitably – in this Ice Bucket Challenge...
Nominated by Louise, the campaigning team behind the our film has accepted the challenge in Edinburgh today...
"We have yet to reach millions," Neil Platt reminds us. Well, here's a new way towards that goal.
Have you heard of the pay-it-forward concept? For example, someone in a coffee shop pays for a couple of coffees for random customers coming in later, and hopefully then these people will return the favour – but instead of paying it back to the donor, they'll be 'paying it forward' to yet other folk. Now, let's do the same with a film.
Do you know other people who should really see this film?
In the player below, grab that marker on the sliding scale and select how many people you can give our film to – friends and strangers alike.
Louise (who was Neil's wife) compares "depressing" assumptions with "uplifting" reactions.
Do you like Green Eggs and Ham? Oscar turned six in August, so I think I’ve been quoting this Dr. Seuss book at him at least once a week for three years now, and not just at the dinner table; I find its sentiment fit into many a strong willed battle.
He came home one day during his very first week of school and told me that "a girl" had said he was "disgusting" because he had olives in his packed lunch. I said: "Oscar, it’s not disgusting to eat olives" (despite what his Daddy would have taught him), and he said "I know, I told her 'Green Eggs and Ham'." Needless to say, I was very proud of my little bookworm.
Just the other day, somebody said to me:
"I felt really guilty for laughing while I was watching I AM BREATHING, but it did make me laugh!"
I loved the fact that the humour in the film was the first thing to come to his mind, perhaps because I know this was a person who had watched a loved one suffer the same fate as Neil: motor neurone disease (you may know it as ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease, or ELA).
At the British Academy Scotland Awards in Glasgow, Emma Davie and Morag McKinnon just received the award for 'Best Director' for I AM BREATHING. They are pictured here with Louise Oswald who was Neil Platt's wife.
Emma Davie said about being named 'Best Director':
"Actually we were just midwives. It was Neil who died 6 months after we started making it. And he really was our collaborator and the man whose vision is now in this film. His wife Louise is here now, and I think that Morag and I, and everybody involved in the film, feel in awe of Neil and Louise and the family and what they've given in sharing what it is to live with motor neurone disease.
Louise Oswald (who was Neil Platt's wife) looks at space travel for inspiration in our battle against MND/ALS/ELA.
While we were in LA with I AM BREATHING, we had time to visit Space Shuttle Endeavour at its final resting place in the California Science Centre. Before you get to see the Shuttle itself, you're ushered through an exhibition where you can touch the wheels from a spacecraft and see a realistic mock-up of mission control at work, but there was also Grand Finale, an almost heart-stopping installation of all the Shuttle launches together on one screen, which served as a strangely beautiful reminder of the 7-strong team lost in the disastrous Challenger launch in 1986.
As all the other 134 shuttles reach orbit, they disappear from the screen leaving just the image of the remains of the Challenger explosion falling back to earth, like a firework in daylight, all you could see was the grey trails (look at row 2, column 10). I watched it twice. I was standing there because of another brave astronaut, Neil's childhood occupations had him graduating through 'Cowboy' and 'Wizard' to 'Astronaut', and eventually he landed as an Architect.
I've managed to heal myself pretty well and I now have a wonderfully happy home life but there is one thing that I still feel is a hangover from my time watching Neil fight MND; I feel like I've lived through 'the worst', and I now find it difficult to connect with certain emotions because I either had to bury them to get through the day or rationalise them and take out the panic element. It is part of being human though and I miss these emotions sometimes. I want to be able to empathise again.
Sometimes a powerful piece like this space shuttle montage will bring emotions back. I think it's part of grief, you never know where the next trigger is going to come from and it always takes you by surprise. I feel like I'm now at a stage where these emotions would be welcome again; death is what gives life its meaning.
It was announced this morning that, in addition to the Cineworld Audience Award, I AM BREATHING is nominated in two other BAFTA Scotland categories, Best Single Documentary and Best Directors.
What a great day to celebrate the news with our DVD release in the UK and many other countries! Many of you have been asking us for this for a long time.
Update on 30 October: Voting has now closed but I AM BREATHING has been nominated in two more BAFTA Scotland categories today, for best single documentary and best directing.
As you may have heard already, I AM BREATHING has been nominated for a BAFTA Scotland Cineworld Audience Award.
For those of you outside the UK, the annual awards of the British Academy of Film & Television Arts are like a UK version of the Oscars. Except that this particular Audience Award gets chosen by you.
The film will be shown once again on the big screen in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen next week (all screening times here). But it's not just the audience in the cinemas that are eligible to vote.
Everyone can cast one vote online.
With every order from I AM BREATHING, you can top up your payment with a donation to our campaign and the MND Association.
We have produced a short video explaining why we ask for donations and how you can make them right in our player, wherever it is embedded. Have a look.
On the occasion of today's screenings at Parliament in Westminster and at the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival, we're proud to announce that I AM BREATHING will be available to everyone from now on.
You can watch the film as video-on-demand in our player below, anywhere in the world. Click the green arrow to access the streaming rental. You'll see a choice of
- the English version without subtitles,
- a version with full English subtitles for those who may struggle with Neil's Yorkshire mumbling, and
- a package of versions with subtitles in other languages.
We'll add subtitles in more languages as we go along, just click on the icon to see which ones are currently included.
You can watch the film right away and resume viewing up to five times over a 30-day period.
This player will also allow you to top up the rental with an optional donation to the I AM BREATHING campaign and the MND Association. (We've also made a video that explains why funds are much needed.)