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How this team of amazing filmmakers made Oscar-nominated short film The Silent Child using Mandy.com

A team of magnificent Mandy.com members joined forces to make award-winning short film The Silent Child which has now been nominated for an Oscar. Director Chris Overton used our Mandy film crew services to find crew members Neal Parsons (Gaffer), Amir Konjani (composer), Ali Farahani (DP), Bryn Williams (2nd AC), Louis Russell (1st AD), Luke Oliver, (1st AC and Steadicam operator), Graeme Willetts (sound recordist), Emily Walder (editor) and Sebastian Levy Polat (boom operator).

15th February 2018
/ By Andrew Wooding

The Silent Child short film THESILENTCHILD

Here is our Mandy News breakdown of The Silent Child crew's journey to Oscar-nomination, how they used Mandy.com to make the film happen along with links to their interviews in full.

Director, Chris Overton, on how he used Mandy Crew to crew up The Silent Child: "The opportunities board really helped our production. It was a big part of finding crew. That’s a tool that you can post a job that is an opportunity, as opposed to a financial opportunity. It’s nice that there’s that to offer, because there are projects out there that have real heart and a strong script, but don’t have the resources to do that. That was so helpful for our project. 

Oscar-nominated The Silent Child director Chris Overton CHRISOVERTON
The Silent Child director Chris Overton

"We found certain people through that, just by telling them the story. It almost gives us the opportunity to pitch. We got our sound recordist from there, Papercut Media are on mandy.com and they did our beautiful drone shots. In terms of finding crew, it was a saviour, to be honest. It’s an amazing platform, and if anyone’s ever in that position, I would highly recommend it. 

"The Silent Child had a strong message and we were trying to do something with the film. Without being too political, we’re trying to get sign language in all schools across the globe. When people got the opportunity to read the script, it was up to them if they then wanted to be a part of it. It gave us a platform to pitch, and I think that’s amazing."

Read Chris's full interview here.

The Silent Child's Sebastian Levy Polat SEBASTIANLEVYPOLAT
The Silent Child boom operator Sebastian Levy Polat

Boom operator, Sebastian Levy Polat, on how and why he joined the production: "Working on The Silent Child was a very spontaneous thing. I was contacted through Mandy.com one or two days before the film shoot. The plot really caught my attention as it is actually a film for a real cause and the writer and star was a recognised actress.

"However, I had been working for no pay jobs for a while and was a bit tired of not being recognised for my work and this one was a bit too far. But the team said they would cover all my expenses, so I jumped on board. And I could not be any happier for that decision."

Read Sebastian's full interview here.

Neal Parsons NEALPARSONS
The Silent Child gaffer Neal Parsons

Gaffer, Neal Parsons, explains the family-like nature of the shoot and what the production days felt like: "It was an amazing experience to work on this short; we lived and worked together as a cast and crew in the same house for ten days (plus a couple of pick-up days) and became like a family over that time. Most of us knew each other a bit, but there were new comers to the crew, plus the addition of Maisie and her family living in the house too, and the coming and going of various other cast members, and we bonded really well. 

"The working days were fairly standard, but we all had to be pretty flexible with what Maisie felt up to, not to mention the weather which was pretty unforgiving at times, especially when I was trying to rig lights outside in the snow!"

Read Neal's full interview here.

Graeme Willetts, sound recordist GRAEMEWILLETS
The Silent Child sound recordist Graeme Willetts

The Silent Child sound recordist Graeme Willetts talks about making friends – and music – during production of the film: “The highlight for me was the rest of the crew. We were staying in the same house we were filming in and, of course, when this happens, the cast and crew swiftly tend to have a close bond. On a couple of occasions after a shoot day we'd all sit in the green room where there was a guitar and piano and have jam sessions.

“The shoot was actually one of the least challenging I've worked on. I'm usually tearing my hair out because we're shooting on a flight path or a main road. We were shooting in the middle of nowhere in the midlands, there was very little noise pollution. Buttermilk to my ears. Chris, the Director was always very conscious about sound too which helped a great deal. If there was a bad take for sound, he'd take the time to make sure we got it clean."

Ali Farahani ALEXFINEPHOTOGRAPHY
The Silent Child cinematographer Ali Farahani

Director of photography Ali Farahani explains his artistic choices behind filming The Silent Child: “As Director of Photography I tried to make an orchestration of light, colour, camera movements and choosing the right shots to make a visual poetry to tell the story and add more layers behind that. Being involved in the whole process of making The Silent Child movie from beginning to the end gave me the opportunity to make a good relationship with Chris Overton - his trust gave me the freedom to merge my DOP skills with my virtual art knowledge to achieve my biggest goal in this movie which was finding a right style for the film as well as telling the story.

“The Silent Child was a low budget short film but I never felt that whilst we were filming, because the producers managed the production process in such a high standard.

"It’s a dream come true, I always believed the idea from Rachel Shenton had the scope to be a real success. We just had to work hard and believe in what we were doing. It was an incredible team effort."

Bryn Williams BRYNWILLIAMS
The Silent Child 2nd AC Bryn Williams

Second Assistant Cameraman Bryn Williams talks about what drew him to the project: “I wanted to work on bigger projects and under more experienced people so started applying for some camera assisting jobs. When I applied for The Silent Child I had one AC job to my name so I was very surprised to get a call from Chris Overton, the director, and be invited to work on the film. 

"There was a steep learning curve over the eight days but I learnt a lot and worked under some incredible mentors. I now freelance for the production company as a DoP and editor and have several short films and a feature film under my belt as both 2nd and 1st AC.”

Louis Russell ALEXFINEPHOTOGRAPHY
The Silent Child First Assistant Director Louis Russell

And 1st AD Louis Russell expresses how proud he is of the final result: “Danny and the entire crew did an amazing job, and I think it was incredible what we achieved in the end. A highlight would be doing some second unit directing for a couple of smaller scenes, particularly some of the drone shots that were used.

“I am so proud because it's an important film with a strong message. I know Rachel Shenton has been campaigning deaf awareness for so many years, so it's great the film and its message is so widely out there now, and getting all the attention and recognition it deserves.”