Interview with Festival Directors Nick John Whittle & Stuart Wheeldon (9LadiesFilmFestival)


9LadiesFilmFestival is a distinguished independent film festival showcasing short films from around the world to an audience of film fans and movie-makers.


What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

9LadiesFilmFestival brings cinematic exposure for independent filmmakers. That’s what filmmaking is essentially about: getting audiences to see your creation. And with exposure comes possibilities. It isn’t just about letting the common man see your film. There are scores of studios out there watching indie films. If they see something that ticks boxes they’ll grab it. Famous case in point: Paranormal Activity.

There are also the laurel stamps for the winners. Films showing laurel stamps in their credits are proven to be the ones most watched. True, it’s not necessarily the mark of an all-round incredible film but it shows it has been scrutinized by professionals and that one element of it (or several) passes muster. It also proves that the filmmakers have a belief in their product and have put in the man hours (and money) to get it through the festival process.

What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2017)?

Our finalists this year will enjoy a specific location for their live screening, from historical houses to modern cinemas. We’ve worked hard to secure theatres that in some way add a cultural essence to the screenings. This isn’t just town-hall-and-sandwiches stuff; it’s a festival with a difference. Always has been.

9LadiesFilmFestival promotes the work of inventive, original, free-thinking and independent filmmakers; to raise their profile throughout the web and connect them with established industry professionals around the world. One of the ways we do this is by creating and taking care of your online presence; creating a web page for your winning film and promoting it like hellfire across social media platforms.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

9LadiesFilmFestival accepts short films and documentaries and we take submissions from filmmakers all around the world. We stipulated that the language of the piece has to be in English (or at least subtitled) but we’ve left things very free and easy deliberately. The films are required to be either 9 mins or less or 10-29 minutes long. The whole theme of this year’s festival is “nine” in honour of our parent company’s title.

 Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?

We believe every film gets a fair shake. Film festivals are an essential part of the growth of an indie moviemaker. If the festival is managed correctly and in a just and reasonable way everyone has equal chance of becoming a winner. Festivals open gateways to the Bigger Picture, to distribution possibilities…a festival like ours represents equal opportunity for everyone – from beginner to expert.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

A passion for making great movies and helping others through the process.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

We have found the FilmFreeway submission process very good, we are already up on the number of entries for the current time of year. With recent tweeks to the way the FilmFreeway program works it is easier to manage the film festival process. And it seems that more and more filmmakers are now using the FilmFreeway Submission process.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

We’d like to think the festival will have grown to the point where we can award substantial funding and great distribution opportunities to the winners.  There are a huge number of inspiring and culturally stand-out filmmakers out there and we look forward to viewing their work.

 What film have you seen the most times in your life?

Nick: Casino Royale (the good one!)

Stuart. The Red Shoes

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Basically, a great story. A movie is like a book in some ways with scene cuts instead of page turns…if you’re bored by the plot of a book you won’t turn a page. On the other hand, if you love it, you can’t stop turning pages. A movie is also story – whether you pour millions of dollars into a project or not, if the story doesn’t hit the spot it won’t be successful. Add superb characters to your story and plenty of subtext and you have a winner.

There is a technical consideration as well, something we like to look at in the festival. Sound, direction, visuals, lighting, props are all taken into consideration as technical achievements of a movie. After all, they are important aspects of the art.

 How is the film scene in your city?

We are fortunate that in the Midlands the film scene is thriving, there are a number of very good Independent Cinemas that show films that otherwise wouldn’t get a release, the indie film making scene is also very good, with the likes of cities such as Nottingham, Sheffield and Birmingham all  have a thriving Indie scene.


Nick John Whittle – Producer. Nick is an award winning writer and producer based in Birmingham. His work includes the award winning film Faith, The Adventures of Joshua (TV mini-series), No Way Back (short/horror) Nick’s cinematic influences include Beckett, Hitchcock, Buñuel, Mamet, Allen, Jarmusch, and Bergman. nick is the co- director of the 9ladiesfilmfestival.

Stuart Wheeldon. Writer/Director Stuart is an award winning writer and director and founder of Nine Ladies Film. Stuart’s work as included theatrical plays, radio and film shown and featured around the world. His work includes In Limbo, The Telephone, The Collector (Pre-Production)and The Wasteland.  Stuart was also the founder of 9ladiesfilmfestival which in it’s first year attracted over 200 entries from around the world.


Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

SUBMIT your TV PILOT Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
Voted #1 TV Contest in North America.
Screenplay CONTESTSUBMIT your Short Screenplay or FEATURE Script
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script performed

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