We’re pleased to reveal our Award Presenters for the 6th Film & TV Awards Gala on Saturday 13th May 2017.

Barry and Margaret Findlay

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Councillor Barry Findlay is the 158th Mayor of Wolverhampton, and was elected on 18th May 2016 for the 2016-17 municipal year. 

Barry and Margaret have lived in Wolverhampton all their lives. Barry has worked for more than 27 years in the rail industry and is based at Oxley. Margaret worked for more than 30 years for the chemist chain, Boots.

Barry has served for the City of Wolverhampton Council for 24 years, representing firstly Fallings Park and latterly Tettenhall Regis. Barry has also been Deputy Leader of the council. Margaret has served as a councillor for eight years, representing Fallings Park and also Heath Town.

Barry is a big fan of Formula 1 motor racing and cricket. Margaret is a keen gardener. They are both members of the National Trust and like, in their spare time, to visit the historic buildings, houses and gardens the Trust looks after, including Wightwick Manor and Moseley Old Hall in Wolverhampton.

Deaffest Co-Founders Nikki Stratton and Marilyn Willrich recently interviewed Barry and Margaret, click here to read the interview.

David de Keyzer

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David is a recognised personality in the world of the Deaf for its dynamism and its way of defending Deaf Culture in France and in the world.

Having grown up in the world of image, he became an actor, and then IVT video assistant in film, and finally director.

Since 2005, he has made several documentary films for the french emission L’Oeil et la Main.

In 2000 he created CinéSourds, whose primary objective is to distribute DVD documentary films and theatre recordings. The association then proposed cafe theatres, amateur workshops, etc. and organises the Clin d’œil Festival in Reims every 2 years.

In 2003, David founded the International Clin d’Oeil Festival, aimed to defend the creation and expression of deaf artists in all artistic fields.

Nikki Stratton and Marilyn Willrich

Nikki and Marilyn are the directors of Zebra Uno, Zebra Access and the founders of Deaffest.  Between them they have done TV presenting, reporting, in-vision interpreting, film making, BSL consultancy, lecturing, project managing and more.  Their inspiring company, Zebra Access, was the National Winner of Signature’s Best Organisational Achievement award in 2014.

Rachel Shenton

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Rachel is a British actress and writer. Rachel is well-known for her character ‘Mitzeee’ in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks and she is also starring in hit US TV show Switched at Birth playing ‘Lily’Aside from acting, Rachel is a confident user of BSL and a committed advocate for raising deaf awareness. Rachel recently wrote and acted in a short film The Silent Child, which is currently in production.

Rob Marris

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Rob Marris was elected as Labour’s Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West in the 2015 General Election and was appointed as a Shadow Treasury Minister 2015 – 2016. He is a well-known local figure, who has lived in Penn Fields for the last 30 years. Born and raised and educated in Wolverhampton South West, he is a solicitor and was MP here 2001 to 2010. Visit here for more details about Rob.

Sean Berdy

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Sean Berdy is an actor, entertainer, and screenwriter whose parents have often said came into this world performing.

Sean began his acting career as the lovably mischievous Sammy “Fingers” Samuelson in The Sandlot 2 movie in 2005.  As a young actor he went on to enjoy starring roles in the films The Legend of the Mountain Man and The Deaf Family before landing his breakout TV starring role as the “Deaf James Dean” character, Emmett, on the award-winning drama, Switched at BirthSean’s 5-year starring role on the show was the longest of any Deaf actor in the history of US television. He was also honoured to receive a DeafNation Inspiration Award for the positive impact his authentic portrayal of Emmett has had on raising Deaf awareness.  Sean has said it is the greatest gift and honour of his career to see that his work has inspired so many of the show’s millions of fans to learn sign language.

He continues to promote the learning of ASL by giving motivational speeches at educational institutions across the US and also promotes the beautiful language through one of his favourite hobbies, making ASL music videos.  His two most popular videos, Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero” and Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel,” have been viewed over one million times on YouTube. Never one to rest on his laurels however, Sean has now thrown his hat into the screenwriting ring.  He is excited to have recently completed writing the Pilot episode for a new television comedy that, if picked up by a network, will be the first comedy of its kind to feature a Deaf actor using ASL. We can’t wait to see what this talented young man accomplishes next…

Terry Riley OBE

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Terry Riley OBE has a wealth of experience in Deaf Television. He worked for 23 years on the BBC’s See Hear programme, becoming its first Deaf editor in 2000.  After leaving the BBC he became the first CEO of the newly founded British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust (BSLBT) in 2008 before he retired in 2014.

His legacy was the Zoom Project which enabled Deaf talent to make their own films at BSLBT, and almost all the directors and producers in the Zoom scheme won prestigious awards throughout the world for their films.

Terry has been a lifelong advocate for the Deaf community and a fearless campaigner for the recognition of British Sign Language. He is currently the Chair of the British Deaf Association (BDA) and a board member of the World Federation of the Deaf  (WFD). 

As a programme-maker and campaigner, Terry has won numerous awards, including an honorary Doctor of Arts from the University of Wolverhampton and was awarded an OBE by the Queen for his services to Deaf broadcasting and the Deaf Community in 2015.

William Mager

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From Bristol via Sheffield and London, William is an award-winning filmmaker and writer and the Series Producer of BBC’s See Hear, now in its 37th series. He’s always on the lookout for new talent both on camera, and behind the camera. He loves coming to Wolverhampton for Deaffest – and for the roast pork baps!

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UK's Leading Deaf-Led Film and Arts Festival

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