Clin d’Oeil Festival Update


Last week we shared the news that Co-Founders of Deaffest and Zebra Unos Directors Nikki Stratton and Marilyn Willrich had joined the biennial deaf international arts festival Clin d’Oeil, which took place last weekend from 6th-9th July.

Some of you that did not attend may have been following the updates about the Clin d’Oeil Festival and, if you haven’t, you can view the photos on their Facebook page. You will see a glimpse of Nikki and Marilyn looking fantastic on the stage!


Enjoying the hot weather throughout the weekend in Reims, Nikki and Marilyn had the opportunity to witness various performances, which took place in several locations and they also interacted with international filmmakers and artists. They had the pleasure of meeting various well-known deaf talents including Finish rap artist Signmark, DJ Nico DiMarco from the USA (you may recognise the surname as he is the twin brother of model, actor and Deaf activist Nyle DiMarco), John Maucere from the USA known for his superhero character ‘SuperDeafy’ (who was also one of the MCs of Clin d’Oeil Festival) and the lovely Maxim Fomitchev, known as Maximime – a physical comedian clown and actor from Canada! Nikki and Marilyn were also delighted to be reunited with the Beethoven’s Nightmare band, VV Maestro Giuseppe Giuranna and USA musician Sean Forbes (all of whom have previously performed at Deaffest).


Saturday 8th July was a very busy day for judges Nikki, Louis Neethling, Pierre Louis Levacher, Veronique Berthonneau and Marie Bresson. They spent the day watching films that had been submitted from all over the world and judging the winning entries. We are pleased to reveal that amongst the winners, were a couple of Brits! Jean St Clair won the Best Actress for Signs of an Affair and Heathlands School for the Deaf won Best Film in the Youth Film category for their film SSL. Huge congratulations to all of the winners, as well as the nominees!

“It was inspirational to watch films created by talented deaf filmmakers. I particularly enjoyed watching the deaf youth films. They are the new generation of filmmakers and it is our duty to support them, as well as help them grow.” – Nikki Stratton

“I’m so pleased that Jean St. Clair won the award for Best Actress for Signs of an Affair and I am honoured to have collected the award on her behalf.” – Marilyn Willrich.

The film awards ceremony, which took place at the La Comédie de Reims, was well attended and was followed by a Deaf Party, where various performances by incredibly talented deaf artists took place on the stage. With Reims being famous as the capital of France’s Champagne region – quite a few corks were popped that night!

“It was wonderful to see all those amazing creative souls gather at Clin d’Oeil Festival and to see the festival goers join in the celebration of these unique deaf artists. Festivals like Clin d’Oeil and Deaffest are of great importance to enable the world to see the amazing work of deaf artists and filmmakers, and to inspire the next generation to ensure the creative talent continues.” – Nikki Stratton.

Deaffest is proud to support Clin d’Oeil Festival. A big thank you to Director David de Keyzer and the Clin d’Oeil Festival for inviting Nikki and Marilyn over and congratulations on another successful festival. As Clin d’Oeil Festival is a biennial festival, they will be set to return in 2019, so watch this space!


Directors to visit Clin d’Oeil Festival 2017

Deaffest Co-Founders and Zebra Uno’s Directors Nikki Stratton and Marilyn Willrich will be flying over to France this weekend to attend Clin d’Oeil Festival 2017. Nikki will be joining the judging panel to select the winning films!

This will be my first visit to the event and I am very much looking forward to the seeing both the talent and the festivities. David and I have supported each other’s festivals over the years and it is an honour to be asked to be one of the film judges for Clin d’Oeil Festival 2017. I look forward to watching the films and working with the other judges.” – Nikki Stratton

The biennial Clin d’Oeil Festival was founded by Director David de Keyzer, who presented one of the awards at Deaffest 2017 in May. The Clin d’Oeil deaf international arts festival was formed in 2003 and this year will be the 8th event. The festival strives to create a bridge between the deaf and hearing worlds, and to break down barriers.


Photo taken by Mark Mecklenburgh, Willow Photography Ltd

The Deaffest and Clin d’Oeil Festivals have supported each other for years and it has always been a great pleasure to work with Director David de Keyzer. Members of the Deaffest team have previously attended four Clin d’Oeil festivals and even produced a documentary about Clin d’Oeil, marking their 10th Anniversary celebrations in 2013. The documentary was exclusively screened at Deaffest 2014 and is available to view online here.

Taking place in Reims, known as the capital of France’s Champagne region and with a strong historic background, the Clin d’Oeil Festival is suitable for all ages. Past Clin d’Oeil festivals have incorporated a Country theme, as a way of introducing the culture and history of various Countries to festival goers, and this year’s festival will introduce Brazil and will showcase the Country’s creative arts and talents.

Alongside our very own Nikki Stratton, the judging panel for the film competition will also include; British Filmmaker Louis Neethling, French Filmmaker Pierre Louis Levacher, French Filmmaker Veronique Berthonneau and Treasurer for the European Union of the Deaf Youth (EUDY) Marie Bresson. There will be 6 awards across the following categories; Best Film, Best Deaf Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best 3D Animation Film and Best Youth Deaf Film. You can view the nominations here.

The winners will be announced this Saturday, 8th July 2017 in the evening. All the best to the judges and the nominees!

Deaffest 2017 Highlights

Enjoy the Deaffest 2017 highlights!

Big thanks to Adrean Mangiardi, Michael Ward, Samuel Ash and Thomas Hickman for producing this video.