Breaking Out

#NowFunding: Breaking Out, the extraordinary story of Irish musician Fergus O’Farrell

Now funding on IndieGoGo is Breaking Out, Michael McCormack’s documentary charting the life of Irish singer, songwriter and musician Fergus O’Farrell. His music is the soundtrack to a film about a life sustained by friendship and love.

He was told he’d be dead by 20, but music gave him a talent for life. From the day the doctor coldly gave his diagnosis on Fergus’ life expectancy, his mother Maureen made it her mission to enable Fergus to live the life that any child of hers should deserve, and the rest of the family rowed in.

It’s about Meng Li, his nurse who became his wife and equal for over 20 years, letting him live a hedonistic life despite the dangers, because she believed a happy heart would help him live, and Glen Hansard, the fan who never forgot and wanted Fergus to taste some of the success he felt he was due. It’s a story about a huge personality fighting a progressive condition with grace, humour ….and blinkers. This film became Fergus’ ultimate performance.

Muscular dystrophy, a muscle wasting disease, was Fergus’ earliest interference. First, he lost the strength to stand at a microphone and then his ability to play guitar and piano was taken away. More than once he gave up on the dream.

But then Once came along. Breaking Out tells the story of a man who found his release through music and his ever-changing band of musicians, Interference. That music is an emotional and inspiring soundtrack to our story. One of his many enduring songs Gold became part of Once, the Oscar-winning film and multi-Tony-award-winning musical.

The film follows Fergus on his first foreign tour to the Czech Republic, and to Radio City Music Hall, and on to this year when Glen Hansard and The Frames set up as his backing band in his house in West Cork to try and record while he still could. His ever-deteriorating condition was now attacking his greatest gift, his voice.

Less than 2 weeks after he finished recording with The Frames, Fergus died at his home in Schull. Over the course of the following 5 days, musicians travelled from all over the world to be there. His body was laid out in his house in an open Moses coffin covered with flowers. A perfect handlebar moustache adorned his face and a glass of whiskey with a straw lay beside him. People were encouraged to write messages and local artists dressed the room and attached two boots to the end of the coffin. And everyone gathered around Fergus’ body until the wee small hours and sang his songs in celebration of his life.

And Breaking Out filmed with him until the very end.

McCormack has set up a lot of rewards on the IndieGoGo site to help encourage people to fund his film, including digital downloads of the finished film, photos, and unreleased demo tracks.

Funds will be put towards a number of essential elements that will help to complete this film and tell Fergus’ story the way it should be told. It will be put towards the framework of filming needed to flesh out the story including interviews with his contemporaries in the music business and famous fans, and animated sequences to fill in some gaps.