Former West Kent College media student Emily Walder could hardly believe her eyes when she found herself holding an Oscar from this year’s Academy Awards ceremony.
Emily, who graduated from West Kent College nine years ago with a degree in Television Production, edited the crowd-funded British short film The Silent Child, announced as the surprise winner of the Oscar for ‘Best Live Action Short’ at the glitzy awards evening in March. She had flown out with the cast and crew to watch the ceremony in Los Angeles, which must have seemed a world away from her garden shed in Hadlow, where she’d spent nine months editing the film.
Written by and starring Rachel Shenton and dir ected by Chris Overton (both for merly of Hollyoaks), the film was produced on a minimal budget and partly filmed in Shenton’s native Staffordshire. It centres on a family’s failure to communicate with their profoundly deaf young daughter, played by Maisie Sly (who is deaf herself) and raises awareness for British Sign Language and deaf education issues.
Emily told the Kent Courier: “It is surreal - I still cannot believe it. Of course we were not expecting it - but we are all really happy because the film has such a good message.
“The crew were all watching it from a viewing apartment we had rented - there were about twelve of us watching it together. It was just the best night ever.
“We are just so excited about the future - for everybody. We are all just such good friends and for this to happen is just magical. We are still shocked. Even now, we’re just looking at each other and thinking ‘did that actually happen?’”
Emily is not one to rest on her laurels though, and has already been working with the producer of The Silent Child on a second film, called Adam and Eve.
She had commented at her graduation ceremony that she hoped to become a feature film editor and now looks back fondly on her time here, saying “Two of my best years were spent studying at West Kent College on the TV Production course.”
The College boasts excellent media facilities, including two TV studios and a control gallery, post production facilities and a soundproofed voiceover room. Photography students utilise our fully equipped darkroom with 18 enlargers and have the opportunity to develop their own photographs. Our Higher Education programmes include BA (Hons) Graphic Design and BA (Hons) and Higher National Diploma in Photography.