Deaf Film Camp is a two-week, summer experience for deaf and hard-of-hearing teens looking to pursue a filmmaking career.
It takes place at Camp Mark Seven, located in the Adirondacks in Old Forge, NY.
Each day is divided into three sections: morning-in-class instructions, afternoon outdoor activities, and evening bonfires with editing and storytelling.
Our mission is to empower campers...
...with the ability to tell stories on film by providing hands-on access to state-of-the-art equipment and the guidance of experienced filmmakers in the beautiful setting of Camp Mark Seven, while providing a fun-filled summer experience that can transport them beyond their everyday lives.
Deaf Film Camp Director
In 2013, Stacy Lawrence conceived, directed and raised funds for our first Deaf Film Camp for deaf teenagers. For two weeks every July since then, deaf and hard-of-hearing children from all corners of the globe have learned how to write, shoot and direct their own video productions under the tutelage of professional deaf filmmakers, animators and screenwriters from around the world! The 2014 camp culminated in the wildly successful Happy video, which to date has received almost 1.5 million YouTube hits.
As the mother of a teenager and preteen, she firmly believes that art supports each child's well-being, and brings out the best in each child. Although Stacy always wanted to learn how to make films when she was younger, she was denied the opportunity to learn - just because she was deaf! She is determined that today's deaf and hard-of-hearing teenagers be granted the full access and ability to learn how to create films from bright, talented and accomplished instructors.
Wayne Betts, Jr. honed his filmmaking skills at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He has served as a Director, Director of Photography, and Editor on short film and film projects including "Gallaudet: The Movie" and "Vital Signs". He makes his films according to cinematic principles that highlight ASL and the deaf experience. He does not consider these principles limiting -- in fact, he uses them to free up his movies: creative camera movements and long takes are just two of the trademarks of his unique cinematic voice. Mr. Betts is also co-founder and Chief of User Experience of Convo.
In addition to other amazing videos he has created, Wayne designed a new logo and website for our Deaf Film Camp.
Bim Ajadi is a filmmaker and director known for his cinematic and versatile work in film, music videos and television. His work is a kaleidoscope that is edgy, thought-provoking and challenging.
He is a multi-skilled, creative person with visual flair. Throughout the summer of 2012, Bim co-directed a film for Channel 4 for the opening of the London Paralympic Ceremony.
Most recently, Bim directed a short film, "Champion of the World," which won the award for Best Film at Deaffest and was screened on Film4. He's experienced in self-shooting on High-Definition, directing cast and crew in both drama and factual documentaries, creating studio links and offering the ability of high quality fast turnaround work - making ideas become reality!
As a result of growing interest within the Deaf community and a surge of Deaf filmmakers active in the mainstream film industry who were keen to showcase their work highlighting sign language, Brent Macpherson founded the New Zealand Deaf Short Film Festival. During that time, he traveled around the world to watch films created by Deaf directors and producers, which inspired him to develop his own production company, Stretch Productions, in 2007.
Through Stretch Productions, Brent has produced and directed documentaries, short films, TV commercials, corporate videos, and other resources for government departments. This led to the formation of Stretch Motion Pictures, through which Brent, in collaboration with Ronel Shodt of Shotz Productions, is currently working on a feature film, Silent Fear, to be filmed in London.
In his spare time, Brent enjoys being a mentor to young filmmakers, and relishes spending quality time with his family and friends, including a good old-fashioned barbecue!
Sophia Ballester is a makeup artist who received formal training from Kazuhiro Tsuji and Jordu Schell at Metamorphoses School in Strasbourg, France in April 2013. Sophia's media makeup art history includes: International Carnival of the Deaf in Modena, Italy, Festival d’Art et culture des Sourds Clin d’Oeil in Reims, France, Workshop Deutsches Gehorbsen Theatre in Munich, Germany, and 92.9 Radio for WA Permiere of movie “Catwoman” in Perth, Australia. In addition, her theatre makeup includes several plays such as Heritages and L’Odyssee Imaginarire with International Visual Theatre in Paris, France.
Tate Tullier is an artist who runs his own photography business, Tate Tullier Photography, with his wife/business partner Sarah. His photography includes families, seniors, weddings, and fashion portraiture with a touch of fine art. He graduated from the Gallaudet University, with a bachelors degree in Studio Art 2D in 2003. After graduation, he lived in New York City for one year and worked on his skills before moving back to his home state of Louisiana. He is currently working on a personal art project, Tub Time With Tate while continuing to do his diverse range of photography.
Louis Neethling, born into a Deaf family and raised in South Africa, developed a love of film from a very young age. He started his career as a presenter on SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation), after which he took courses in directing and multi-camera work. Louis became director and eventually executive producer of DTV (Deaf Television), where he directed his first dramatic piece, "Young & Speechless."
Louis went on to win a Rotary International Vocational Scholarship, which allowed him to study in the UK, where he created the short film Dis?ABLE, after which he went on to direct the BBC's first sign language drama, "Switch," and later programs such as "Crimewatch" and "Holiday."
To gain more control over his work, Louis established Mutt & Jeff Pictures, the only Deaf-led TV, film and drama production company, in 2007. Departure Lounge and the Deaffest-nominated Coming Home are the evidence of the company's approach and commitment to hiring Deaf screenwriting talent and adapting stories to be told by the Deaf to the Deaf.
Jay Kowalczyk was born in Florida, raised in New York, educated in Maryland and Washington, DC, and now lives in California. He graduated from Gallaudet University with a degree in Psychology, and now serves as a media manager for Convo Communications. His training in psychology has served him well in this seemingly different role, where his creativity has been allowed to flourish under the tutelage of Wayne Betts, Jr. and with Jarrod Musano's support. Recent works such as The Wedding and Mara & Jeremy - BeYOUtiful that Jay helped create at Convo are proof of his talent and the supportive environment in which he works.
Jay considers Deaf Film Camp at Camp Mark Seven to be his second home because he loves both hiking and filming! Camp Mark Seven is surrounded by the stunning Adirondack Mountains and Fourth Lake, and Deaf Film Camp teems with talented filmmakers.... what a perfect place for Jay to spend his summer!
Bellamie Bachleda was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, to Deaf parents. She studied and graduated with a Bachelor's in Psychology and Studio Arts at Gallaudet University in 2006.
Her career in filmography began when she joined ASL Films in 2012, first as an actor for “Slot” and moving onto a producer and assistant director for “In the Can”. As she embarked on her artistic journey, she learned the value of storytelling and the healing potential it has, which only ignited her enthusiasm to continue writing and making films and other media. She has already written and produced several short films, which are currently in the post-production phase.
Bella completed UCLA's Professional Program in Screenwriting in June 2014, and is currently enrolled at Santa Fe University of Art and Design, specializing in producing, directing and editing.
Performer & Music Mentor
Rosa Lee Timm
Performer & ASL Translator
Miriam Lerner and Margaret Jennings gave up two weeks of their precious time to do basically everything -- from cooking to designing program books to shopping for supplies, and most importantly, making our campers happy.
Michael Kaufer gave our international teachers the red carpet treatment in the Big Apple after picking them up at JFK Airport. Along with Anthony Farina, Michael also devoted hours of time to editing one of our important film projects on a tight deadline.
Jessica Lee and Carl Freis picked up French and Norwegian campers and their communication facilitators at JFK Airport in New York City and drove them through the night to Camp Mark Seven.
Sign up for the 2016 pre-registration list.*
* Campers must be deaf/hard-of-hearing & age 14 to 16 for eligibility
2016 DFC Dates Will Be Announced Soon!
IMPORTANT: Your pre-registration will NOT be complete until you send a short (no more than 3 minutes) video explaining who you are and why you are interested in Deaf Film Camp. Space is limited and we use these videos to gauge your level of interest and commitment!
Please send this video to Stacy Lawrence, Deaf Film Camp Director, at email@example.com. Use .mov format or provide a private YouTube link. Submissions that are not in these formats will not be accepted.
Donate to Deaf Film Camp
You can help a deaf teenager pursue a career in filmmaking by directly supporting a camper. All donations to Deaf Film Camp will benefit operation and activity fees of the two-week session.
Please make all checks payable to 'Mark Seven Deaf Foundation', note DFC on the memo line and mail to:
PO Box 840313
St. Augustine, FL 32080
Camp Mark Seven is a nonprofit organization. All proceeds go to the avenue in which donated. All proceeds will go directly to the campers of Deaf Film Camp.