Oscar winner Chris Overton in triumphant return to hometown - PICTURES and VIDEO
‘I just need to sit down, have a cup of tea, and take it all in.’
Those were the words of Oscar winner Chris Overton as he brought his shiny new trophy back home for the first time.
Arriving at Cannock’s Electric Cinema yesterday to cheers and applause from staff, the unassuming director casually pulled a hooded jumper from his backpack and unrolled it to reveal the 24-carat gold plated statue nestled inside.
He and screenwriter fiancée Rachel Shenton were gracing the red carpets of Hollywood only last week after triumphing at the Academy Awards for their live action short film The Silent Child.
But yesterday the award-winning director seemed very down-to-earth as he rocked up at his hometown cinema in blue jeans, a cream-coloured Levi’s jacket and a sporty backpack containing his new prize – Rachel was away celebrating Mother’s Day in her hometown of Stoke.
Chris, 28, said: “I don’t think it’s sunk in. I haven’t had a moment to breathe. I think it’s more other peoples reactions that help it sink in. We’re really in demand right now.
"BBC Breakfast asked us if we wanted to come in but we couldn’t make it work. It’s more important to me to be here in Cannock than on BBC Breakfast.”
Wolves fan Chris, from Heath Hayes, said it was his football club’s crushing 4-1 defeat against Aston Villa on Saturday that finally ‘brought him back to reality’.
He joked: “My brother is a Villa fan so we sat in the Villa end. That really brought me back down to earth, back to reality.”
The couple stood in front of hundreds of Hollywood icons to collect their award, with the likes of Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman in the audience.
Chris’ parents Andy and Lynne, who raised £1,000 selling cupcakes to help crowdfund the film, were also in LA last week – and Chris admitted ‘the real moment’ for him was seeing his father wipe away proud tears.
The new-found stars have already decided where both their Oscars will go, on a bookshelf in the living room either end of a sign reading ‘Dream Big’, Chris said.
Shaking hands with Electric Cinema owner Graeme Cotton, as he handed him the heavy statue to hold, the award-winning director recalled the trips he used to make to his local movie theatre.
He said: “I used to come here as a child. I remember being rejected to a 12 film, as I was only 11. I can’t remember what I was even seeing. I guess they just thought I was too little.”
The former Hollyoaks stars, playing Mitzeee Minniver and Liam McAllister in the Channel 4 show, hope to develop their film – the story of four-year-old deaf girl Libby living in a world of silence – into a feature-length production.
Collecting the prize last week Rachel delivered her speech in sign language for the film’s six-year-old star Maisie Sly, who is deaf, in front of tens of millions of people across the world.
Rachel’s late father became deaf when she was very young, and she has been tirelessly campaigning to get sign language into schools and break down the communication barriers deaf children face.
Chris added: “Rachel has been campaigning for this for 12 years – to have this regarded as an important issue.
"Theresa May mentioned Maisie’s name in parliament which was good but there is still work to do. We want to accomplish what we set out to achieve, getting sign language in schools.”
The Silent Child will be showing in the Electric Cinema again in the near future, Chris revealed, with more details soon.