Silver screen success for deaf teenager

William Palmer and Aryana Engineer in the film
William Palmer and Aryana Engineer in the film
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A schoolboy got the taste of the red carpet treatment after a film he stars in won a top award at an international film festival.

William Palmer (14) was the star of the show as he went to Chicago for the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival for the film ‘Dreaming of Peggy Lee.’

William signs autographs

William signs autographs

William, who made his cinematic debut in the film, plays the role of Alexander, who helps his sweetheart escape a care home and fulfil a lifetime ambition of singing in a jazz club.

The film won the kids jury first prize for live action short film - and following the success William was in demand, with youngsters asking for autographs at a showing of the movie.

William starred alongside Hollywood actress Aryana Engineer in the independent short film. Both William and Aryana are deaf and play the role of deaf children in the film. Aryana has previously starred in blockbusters Resident Evil Retribution and horror Orphan.

But William, who is deaf and attends Hampton College said it was only by chance he even attended the audition.

He said: “It was unexpected to be asked to audition. We were filming in London for a documentary about football and got a call from someone who had heard about me and wanted me to audition for a film. It was pure luck we were in London that day.

“I had to do was read out the script over and over and do facial expressions and reactions. Because it is a silent film for much of it, my expressions had to be right. It felt great to be told I’d got the part.”

The talented footballer said he did not expect the film to lead to a trip to America. He said: “I had no idea whatsoever what would happen after the film was made. I liked the film but as I’m new to all this I didn’t really think it would lead to trips like Chicago and winning awards.

“It was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. There were lots of things to do like visiting America’s tallest building and taking a tour around the city on a boat. We also got dressed up for Halloween and even took home some of the turf from Chicago’s classic baseball ground, Wrigley Field.”

Now William is looking at continuing his acting career.

He said: “I was incredibly nervous before we started filming. I think as nervous as I’d ever been but as the days went on I became more and more confident and the nerves went away.

“I’d like to act again in future because I enjoyed it and enjoyed seeing the whole process of making a film from start to finish. The days were long and tiring on set but it’s definitely worth it and so far people have been very positive about how I came across.”

William was able to attend the award ceremony with 
the support of the Peterborough Lions Club who donated towards the cost of the 

The film is director James Everett’s third movie.