North Staffordshire actress Rachel Shenton has won an award for her film The Silent Child at the Oscars this morning.
The 30-year-old actress, accepted the award for ‘best live action short film’, alongside her partner and director, Chris Overton.
Collecting the award at the ceremony in Los Angeles, Ms Shenton, from Caverswall, delivered her speech in sign language.
The Silent Child saw off competition from four other short films, DeKalb Elementary, The Eleven O’Clock, My Nephew Emmett, Watu Wote/All of Us to win the Oscar.
The film, which was shot in Staffordshire and some areas of Stoke-on-Trent, is centred around a girl called Libby, a young deaf girl played by six-year-old Maisie Sly.
The 20 minute short film follows Libby as she learns to communicate through sign language, with the help of a social worker.
The former Hollyoaks actress said that she was inspired to write the film because of her own experiences, as her dad lost his hearing after receiving treatment for chemotherapy when she was 12-years-old.
Collecting the Oscar, Shenton, an ambassador for the National Deaf Children’s society, said that she made a promise to Maisie to sign her acceptance speech.
She said: “Our movie is about a deaf child being born into a world of silence. It’s not exaggerated or sensationalised for the movie.
“This is happening. Millions of children all over the world live in silence and face communication barriers, and particularly access to education.
“Deafness is a silent disability. You can’t see it and its not life threatening, so I want to say the biggest of thank you’s to the Academy for allowing us to put this in front of a mainstream audience.”
Shenton has received an overwhelming sense of support from fans on social media:
THANK YOU @RachelShenton FOR RAISING AWARENESS ABOUT THE DEAF!!!!
AND USING SIGN LANGUAGE!
— Nyle DiMarco (@NyleDiMarco) March 5, 2018
rachel shenton’s sign language speech ❤️ #Oscars
— Life of Mine (@GratefulGirl10) March 5, 2018
— Jennifer Young (@jenxyoungx) March 5, 2018