From tranquil Papplewick to glitzy Oscars in LA!

OSCAR BRAVO -- Samantha Waite (right) picks up a previous award as producer of 'Wish 143'
OSCAR BRAVO -- Samantha Waite (right) picks up a previous award as producer of 'Wish 143'

THE BRIGHT lights of Hollywood and the star-studded red carpet at the Oscars are a far cry from the tiny, quiet village of Papplewick.

But for Samantha Waite, those worlds collided spectacularly.

For the 35-year-old, who grew up in Papplewick, was at the glitzy ceremony in Los Angeles (LA) after being nominated for an Academy Award as producer of the poignant short film ‘Wish 143’.

The 23-minute piece, which cost just £15,000 to make, was a contender in the best short-film category.

The accolade led to a frantic blitz of Press and publicity events for Samantha, who rubbed shoulders with movie A-listers including Tom Hanks and Halle Berry ahead of one of the globe’s most prestigious and glamorous occasions.

Sadly, the film missed out on the prized gong, which went to ‘God Of Love’.

But for Samantha’s friends and family, who stayed up late into the night in Nottingham to watch the ceremony on TV, they are still mightily proud of her.

Samantha, whose family no longer live in Papplewick, spoke briefly to the Dispatch as she landed back in England from LA on Wednesday afternoon.

“It has been a complete whirlwind,” she said. “Everything has been non-stop since the nomination. It has been an incredible experience.”

‘Wish 143’, which was financed by the BBC TV Film Network, focuses on the story of 15-year-old David, who has just months to live after being struck down by cancer.

He is offered a final wish by the Dreamscape Foundation. But David doesn’t want to meet a famous footballer or visit Disney World. He wants to lose his virginity and spend the night with a woman!

The film has wowed critics ever since it was unveiled and won an award at the Palm Springs Film Festival in the USA, which meant it was eligible for an Oscar nomination.

It marks a massive coup for Samantha, who is a former pupil of Hollygirt School and Trent College in Nottingham.

She went on to be a volunteer at Neale’s auction house in Nottingham, studied history of art and English at York University and then went to work for Christie’s in London.

But she soon realised her heart wasn’t in it and launched a career in entertainment.

Things took off and she worked under BBC TV boss Greg Dyke on producing shows such as ‘EastEnders’, ‘Watchdog’ and ‘Absolutely Fabulous’. She was even production co-ordinator on ‘Extras’, which was the brainchild of comedian Ricky Gervais.

Samantha then returned to the family home in Papplewick and started studying film-making before moving to the New York Film Academy where she worked on the Oscar-winning documentary ‘Man On Wire’.

She now runs her own company, Union Pictures.

The Oscar nomination for ‘Wish 143’ should fire her career further forward. Samantha said: “It’s very hard to know where the Oscars will lead. I think the doors will open a little more easily now I have been nominated.”

She now turns her attention to finishing her new film, ‘Weighed In’, with actor Bob Hoskins.