Meet the Directors


The directors, Marilyn Willrich and Nikki Stratton, are both Deaf native British Sign Language users. Both Nikki and Marilyn were born deaf and raised by deaf parents and grandparents. This gives the Directors a deep understanding of what it means to be deaf. In addition, both directors are highly qualified and have extensive experience in the field.

Founders of Deaffest

Nikki and Marilyn founded the annual International Deaf Film and Arts Festival Deaffest in 2006 under a partnership structure with Light House and University of Wolverhampton. Today, Deaffest is the UK's only Deaf-led Film and Arts Festival, which celebrates the talents of Deaf filmmakers and media artists from all over the world.

Nikki Stratton (left)

As well as appearing as a TV BSL (British Sign Language) In-vision interpreter for a wide range of channels such as Cartoon network, CBeebies, BBC, and Channel 4, Nikki won "Best Female TV Presenter" Award at the Remark! Film and TV Awards in November 2005.

Nikki was Project manager for Zebra's Young Deaf Filmmakers course (funded by Mediabox), produced 9 films that have screened across the globe. Importantly, as a result of this programme almost 70% of the students gained employment in the media industry.

Marilyn Willrich - previously Marilyn Bueno Del Carpio (right)

Marilyn Willrich is equally well known as a TV Presenter/Reporter. She's been a BBC See Hear and BSL Consultant/monitor for Channel 4's VEE TV programs as well as delivering a variety of training and consultation services across the UK.

Marilyn has also worked as a Senior Lecturer in BSL/English Interpreting and Deaf Studies course at the University of Wolverhampton. In November 2009, she won the "Best Actress" award at the Remark! Film and TV Awards Ceremony for her role in The Guest. Marilyn also directed the films The Allotment 2012, Mystery Moor 2011 and Gone with Time 2011 that was shortlisted for Best Short Film at the Clin d'Oeil 2011 Festival in France and Reims Film Festival in France.