From Cannock to Hollywood as Oscar hopefuls meet Spielberg

By Charlotte Callear | Cannock | Staffordshire entertainment | Published:

A Cannock director brushed shoulders with some of Hollywood's brightest stars in the run up to the highly-anticipated 90th Academy Awards.

Rachel Shenton and Chris Overton with Steven Spielberg

Chris Overton, who directed the Oscar-nominated short film, The Silent Child, is enjoying the glitz and glam that the awards has to offer including being able to meet one of his heroes, Steven Spielberg.

It comes in the run up to the awards night on Monday when it will be revealed whether his film received the award for the Best Live Action Short Film.

Mr Overton, from Heath Hayes, posted the photo of himself and Mr Spielberg as well as his fiancée who is an actress and writer for the film, Rachel Shenton onto Twitter with the caption: 'What a day - met a hero!!'

Mr Spielberg is one of the most highly decorated directors and has been nominated for Best Director seven times while winning twice for the films Saving Private Ryan and Schlindler's List.

He has been in LA for a week doing press events in the day and parties in the evening in the run up to the big day.

The Silent Child - watch the trailer:

The Silent Child - Official Trailer


The former Kingsmead student’s 20-minute film is about a young deaf girl who is born into a middle-class family and struggles with communication until she meets a caring social worker.

It stars five-year-old Maisie Sly, who is deaf herself, and highlights the lack of support there is for deaf young people.

It is Mr Overton's debut as a director and the film is going against four others to win the prestigious award. The Academy Awards will be hosted by chat show host Jimmy Kimmel and the ceremony starts at 1am.

He held a special screening of the film last month (feb 18) at the Electric Palace Picture House, where he used to watch films himself as a child. It was a sell-out and he got a standing ovation from residents in his hometown.


Award-nominated film a ‘must-see’

The Silent Child is a deeply engaging and thoroughly heart-rending insight into the world of a deaf child, writes Charlotte Callear.

The Oscar-nominated film breaks the silence on the widespread ignorance surrounding deafness, particularly with children, and highlights the importance of sign language.

It centres around a profoundly deaf four-year-old girl named Libby who is born into a middle class family and lives in a world of silence until a caring social worker teaches her the gift of communication. It is upsetting to watch the young character, played by five-year-old Maisie Sly, who is partially deaf herself, be labelled as unintelligent and incapable because she cannot hear.

The young blonde-haired star is captivating in her debut role which she performed with ease and grace. The same could be said for writer and former Hollyoaks actress, Rachel Shenton, who plays the part of the kind-hearted social worker and who the viewer immediately warms to. Her bright red coat makes her a figure of hope in an otherwise dreary world. A particularly memorable scene is when there is no sound despite being able to see several characters are talking, letting the viewer step into Libby’s frustrating shoes.

Cannock director Chris Overton has completed a truly awe-inspiring directorial debut.

The film already has more than 20 well-deserved awards and has been nominated for the Best Live Action Short Film for the 90th Academy Awards which will be revealed tomorrow.

It is more than worthy of the Oscar.

Charlotte Callear

By Charlotte Callear

Reporter based at the Express & Star's Wolverhampton head office


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