Rachel Shenton is keen to turn her Oscar-winning short film ‘The Silent Child’ into a feature-length movie
The former ‘Hollyoaks’ actress and her fiancé Chris Overton picked up the Best Live Action Short Film Oscar at the Academy Awards earlier this month and now she wants to take the project – which she co-starred in with six-year-old deaf actress Maisie Sly – even further.
She said: “Next I want to make the film feature-length or turn it into a drama.
“I’ve got an excited feeling this is just the beginning for deafness in film.
“Ours wasn’t sensationalised, it’s a reality for thousands of children living in a world of silence, they face communication barriers and lack of access to education.
“So I hope this contributes to getting sign language and deaf awareness into the curriculum in schools and on to our screens more. If we’ve started something with ‘The Silent Child’, I’ll be very proud.”
And with greater campaigns for equality in the movie industry, Rachel is hopeful that will also include better representation of disability on screen.
Rachel lined up on Monday beside some of the biggest Hollywood stars in the world, including Meryl Streep and Margot Robbie, for the official Oscar class photo as the build up for the ceremony in March continues.
She told Grazia magazine: “Being at the first post-Weinstein Oscars was amazing. You could feel the change in the air – the way women and diversity were being celebrated.
“It felt more progressive and like there’s a spotlight on diversity now.
“It’s really important to remember that disability, including deafness, is diversity.
“Disability is hugely underrepresented in film but this is the year that’s all changing.”
After winning their Oscar, the 30-year-old actress and her director partner shunned glamorous parties for a quiet celebration with their loved ones.
Rachel said: “As incredible as the glamour was, Chris and I weren’t interested in partying wih the A-list stars afterwards.
Asked about their prestigious lunch date, Chris admitted he was still pinching himself, laughing that the whole thing was ‘so insane’.
‘It was surreal,’ Rachel confessed, before her director beau quipped: ‘We looked at our IMDB page the other day and it had nominated for one Oscar.’
The Silent Child tells the tale of a deaf four-year-old girl who lives in a world of silence until a social worker teaches her how to communicate.
“It was being with our parents and the film crew that mattered most to us.
“We popped into the Vanity Fair afterparty, grabbed a burger, had a quick chat with Allison Janney and left in under five minutes.
“We rushed off to celebrate with our families and team back at our apartment. It was really important that we got back and showed them the award.”