Irish film maker Simon Fitzmaurice made his appearance at the festival to show his film after five long years of hard work.

The director, who has made called by many an inspirational figure, has Motor Neuron Disease. His film My Name is Emily was written entirely using an iris-recognition screen. He then went on to direct the film using the same method and completed the project earlier this year.

The film, which sees Evanna Lynch in the lead role, follows the story of teenage Emily and her Robert on their mission to find her father.

Simon’s opportunity to have his film screened at the festival which has landed him the title of “Ireland’s most promising film-maker.” Speaking about his appearance the 39-year old said:

“Getting to Toronto is the result of a lot of people’s work and support, including Culture Ireland, and I’m so grateful to everyone involved.”

In 2008 he was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease shortly after he finished his second short film The Sound of People. That short went on to be screened the Sundance Film Festival.

The father-of-five refuses to allow his disease to affect his dreams of becoming a feature film director despite the extra challenges he faces.

One of these being the extra costs of travelling to events such as TIFF as he faces higher transportation costs than most others. Culture Ireland sponsored Simon in order to allow him to represent his film in person at the festival.

Minister of State with responsibility for New Communities, Culture and Equality, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD, said:

“Simon Fitzmaurice is a hugely talented award winning Irish film maker and I am delighted that Culture Ireland is supporting his presence at Toronto International Film Festival to attract the attention both he and his film deserve worldwide