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Set in rural England and inspired by real life events. The Silent Child centres around a profoundly deaf four year old girl named Libby who is born into a middle class family and lives in a world of silence until a caring social worker teaches her the gift of communication.
I really hope that this at least gets an Oscar nomination for best live-action short because it fully deserves it. I saw this premiere at the Rhode Island International Film Festival this August, and multiple people including me began learning sign language after watching it. It won several awards at the end of the festival, as many people I attended the festival with expected. It's not the most entertaining short, nor the most artsy, but it presents what is clearly a poorly-handled disability in a way that motivates action. In the wrong hands, this project might have just turned into an infomercial or a guilt trip, but thankfully this is not the case. Instead, the audience is given great emotional access to both of our characters in such a way that we can root for them. The only aspect of it that I didn't fully buy was the neglect of the parents, but even that seems fairly plausible now that I am thinking about it.
The Silent Child affirms my belief that shorts need to get better exposure than they do at present. It wouldn't work to make a feature film centered around the concept of deafness, and giving a single minor character in a big feature such a disability can often be problematic. But topics such as this are perfect for short films, and this particular short got just about everything right.
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