'I woke up with an Oscar by my bed!' - Cannock filmmaker Chris Overton in shock at award win
Oscar-winning director Chris Overton may have woken up with an Oscar on his bedside table, but his big win has still not sunk in.
Chris, from Heath Hayes, and his writer fiancée Rachel Shenton, who comes from Stoke-on-Trent, scooped the Best Live Action Short Film award for The Silent Child in the early hours of Monday.
The 28-year-old, whose 20-minute film provides a rare insight into the world of a young deaf girl, still can’t quite believe his luck.
After waking up in LA yesterday, he said: “I woke up this morning and looked next to my bedside and saw an Oscar – how could I put that into words?
“I turned to my left and saw my fiancée with hers.
“I feel like I have three Oscars.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet. I mean that. We can’t wait to see our friends and family and share it with them.
“We are still in shock. It’s the most incredible thing. What this does for deaf awareness is extraordinary. It feels like the type of thing you hear happening to somebody else.
“It’s a dream come true.”
Miss Shenton added: “I can’t put it into words – it feels surreal.
“I’m so grateful for everyone that enjoyed the film and voted.
“The Silent Child carries a very important message and we are over the moon that we got to put that on such a huge stage.
“We woke up this morning and there were two Oscars by our bed – it doesn’t feel real.”
The couple, who previously worked on TV show Hollyoaks together, flew out to LA with their family and the star of the film, Maisie Sly, aged six, for the big night.
Maisie’s father, Gilson Sly, said: “The Silent Child winning the Oscars is such a surreal experience.
“For my daughter to be one of the leading actresses in this film, which is pushing the issues that deaf children face to the forefront of people’s minds is incredible.
“The immense pride I feel is amazing.
“I’m so glad that Maisie has been given this opportunity and extremely thankful to The Silent Child team.”
Tributes have been pouring in since the win, with Chris’ former school, Kingsmead School in Hednesford, even putting up a blue plaque outside his old English classroom door, where he studied from 2001 to 2002.
And Barbara Heath, assistant headteacher at Gorsemoor Primary School, in Heath Hayes, which helped to raise money to make the £12,000 film, sang his praises.
She said: “I had the pleasure of teaching him and all the way through school he showed an absolute flair for drama.
“He has just blossomed.
“When he came back telling us he was trying to highlight such an important cause we came up with ideas to raise money and managed to donate £700 from sponsored silences and bake sales.
“The both of them are such grounded people, they will not let this get to their heads.
“They are in touch with their local community and completely deserve this.”
And now for the feature film?
The Oscar-winning couple say they could develop the The Silent Child into a feature film.
Rachel wrote the story and was inspired by her father who turned deaf when she was a child.
Rachel, 30, from Stoke, added: “We would love to extend this story either for a feature film or a longer drama so hopefully it will help with that because it is a pretty decent proof of concept.”
But for now, the pair said following the ceremony in Los Angeles they looked forward to a holiday.
Chris: “We need some time just to go back home and just chill out, have a few days away.”
Rachel: “It has been a bit crazy actually it is a bit unexpected. From when we first landed right up to the Oscars and obviously now the outcome of the Oscars which is just amazing.”
Am Dram Star of the Week Carina Whiting of the Compton Care Choir to perform at fundraising event, Music in the Park, at Baggeridge Country Park.