Global Health Film Classics: I Am Breathing | Global Health Film

I Am Breathing (2013)

Directed by Emma Davie and Morag McKinnon, 72 mins

Sunday 26 July 2020 19:00 BST plus panel discussion

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 humour, to becoming completely paralysed from the neck down, thanks to the devastating illness he has inherited, motor neurone disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). As his body gets weaker, his perspective on life changes. His humour 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.

For the first time in the series we brought back the original panel for the discussion after the film:

  • Emma Davie, co-director I Am Breathing
  • Louise Oswald, Neil’s widow
  • Martin Turner, Professor of Clinical Neurology and Neuroscience, Oxford

We are endebted to all three, and most especially to Louise, for making the time to be with us. Gerri McHugh, Founder and Director of Global Health Film, moderated the discussion, as at the original screening.

I Am Breathing first screened at Global Health Film in November 2014

I Am Breathing website

A limited number of tickets are available: book now to join us on Sunday 26 July; we will close registration at 5pm on Sunday 26 July and will send you a link to the event by 6pm, an hour before the screening starts.

Registration is free of charge; each screening costs just under £1,000 for us to organise. We are grateful for any donation you are able to make to help cover our costs; you can make a donation securely using this link

Thank you for your support!

I Am Breathing: additional resources

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Global Health Film is registered in England and Wales under charity number 1179829 and company number 10436509. Registered address: 10 Queen Street Place, London, EC4R 1BE
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