Deaffest has been going for 9 years (with 2 festivals taking place in the same year), hanging in there through good times and bad and when funding was few and far between. This year’s festival was funded by Arts Council England and the BFI (British Film Institute). The attendance figures where on a scale never before witnessed, 2015 proved without a doubt how well deserved that funding was. Deaffest would like to give a big thanks to our sponsors who have contributed to making the festival as successful as it was.
To mark Deaffest’s steady rise in popularity over the years both nationally and internationally, continued this year with even more global involvement than ever before. With an extra day added to fit it all in, 30 students from all over the UK attending various performances and workshops held on Thursday 14th May at theLight House.
The morning saw the arrival of a theatre group all the way from South Africa. The group Listen With Your Eyes, consisting of deaf actors Bo Tasker, Darren Rajbal and Ismael Mansoor created and performed their comedy for the first time ever in the UK. Central to the plot was an out of control robot whose outrageous antics had school pupils in hysterics. The day was completed with a drama workshop for the children in the afternoon led by the inventive Deafinitely Theatre. Pupils also had the opportunity to check out the deaf art and photography exhibition in the main gallery. This exhibition can be viewed throughout the whole of May 2015.
Towards the end of the event Marilyn Willrich and Nikki Stratton, Directors of Zebra Access, which coordinates Deaffest, announced two surprise awards. The award for Outstanding Contribution to the Media Industry went to film director and editing expert Bim Ajadi and Lifetime Achievement award went to highly respected film director John Maidens.
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