Former Ealing Student's Oscar Success

Producer of 'The Silent Child' Rebecca Harris graduated from UWL

(Oscar winner, Rebecca Harris)


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A former University of West London student is part of the British team which brought home an Oscar from Hollywood for The Silent Child.

Set in rural England and inspired by real events, The Silent Child centres upon a profoundly deaf four-year-old girl named Libby. With the help of a social worker, this once withdrawn girl suddenly feels connected to the world as the relationship between them blossoms. Inspired by real-life events, the film observes one of the loneliest disabilities and the avoidable struggles that deaf children face.

Video Production and Film Studies graduate Rebecca Harris, 25, is the producer with the leading role played by Maisie Sly,a young actress with deafness.

Maisie Sly

It is the first time in 31 years that a film featuring a deaf person has made the Academy Awards'.

Speaking after the amazing win, Rebecca said, ''It’s bonkers and still hasn’t sunk in for me. ‘Hearing 'The Silent Child' read out while they named the nominations was surreal enough. I froze when they announced we’d won. It was an indescribable feeling. Seeing Rachel and Chris speak about the message of the film on the biggest stage in the world was very emotional and we’re all living a dream right now.

'' Like all of our team I’ve received so many beautiful and supportive messages, it’s been overwhelming. After the ceremony I looked at my phone and I couldn’t believe the number of messages there were, I’d never seen anything like it - then I realised they were mostly from my family whatsapp group! They are over the moon for us. I can’t wait to hug my mum and dad.’

Paul Lohneis, Head of UWL’s London School of Film, Media and Design, said: ‘Congratulations to Rebecca for this Oscar nomination, which is richly deserved. She was an exemplary student when she studied here and it’s great to see her talent being recognised by an awards as prestigious as the Oscars. This is exceptional news for the School and we’re all very proud.’

As part of promotional efforts for the film, a viral campaign is taking place with a message of ‘disability is diversity’, aimed at raising the profile of disability as a key ingredient of diversity.

Rebecca said: ''This is a year of diversity with a huge spot-light on gender and race. We think it’s important to remember that disability should also be included in the diversity bracket and deafness in film is hugely under represented.''

It is not the first time a UWL graduate has been in line for an Oscar. In 2013, an animation by former Film Production student Fohla Cronin-O’Reilly was nominated in the Best Animated Short Film category and also racked up a number of other industry awards.

You can Watch The Silent Child on BBC iplayer.

4 April 2018

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