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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 TEAM

 
Michael Kaufer  DFC Director  New York, New York

Michael Kaufer
DFC Director
New York, New York

+ Michael Kaufer

Michael Kaufer is director of Deaf Film Camp and has been a long-time supporter of CM7, raising more than $250,000 for the organization since 2010. He was an educator of deaf, hard-of-hearing, and KODA children for more than 25 years, most of them at New York City public schools. Upon retiring from teaching, he became a certified Apple Specialist where he provides workshops and training on Apple products and software commonly used at DFC, and supports ongoing accessibility initiatives for Apple employees and customers.

Since 2015, Michael has also worked closely with Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0, a non profit organization that provides training and resources for people with disabilities to gain employment in media. Michael believes every deaf and hard-of-hearing child who aspires to be in media absolutely can achieve their dreams, and envisions DFC as a catalyst for helping them reach their full potential!

Clare Cassidy  Assistant Director  Livermore, California

Clare Cassidy
Assistant Director
Livermore, California

+ Clare Cassidy

Clare Cassidy is a mother, teacher and photographer. Born Deaf, alongside with her identical twin sister, they both grew up taking photos and making short films. Their love for photography is still very evident nowadays. Clare's first and foremost love of her life would be her three boys, of course her husband and her cat, too. Her three boys are what motivates Clare to pursue her dream to be a traveling photographer. She hopes that her boys see her example and follow suit whenever they discover their dreams. She is always up for challenges, especially when it comes to creating artistic photos of children. Portraiture is her favorite genre, as well as Lifestyle photography. She does weddings, family sessions, birth photography and newborns. She likes to call herself a moments chaser, as she always look for the in-between moments to capture and forever pause through photos.

Clare Cassidy

 
Storm Smith  Post Production Editor  Los Angeles, California

Storm Smith
Post Production Editor
Los Angeles, California

+ Storm Smith

Storm Smith is known as a visionary storyteller through her work. Storm did not limit herself to only films, but rather expanded her horizons by producing and directing a variety of music videos, sports promotional videos, commercials, including ABC Family Switched at Birth, webinars and interviews. In addition, Storm is a motivational speaker across the nation. She delivered presentations regarding film theories and topics related to the power of passions, identity, and visual storytelling at Harvard University, UCLA, Boston University, California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and many more. Storm graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Gallaudet University and she will receive a Master’s Degree in Media Entrepreneurship at American University in May 2016. Currently, Storm is working as a Video Producer/Director specializing in Creative Marketing for the University Communications at Gallaudet University. Aside from living her dreams and making her passions a reality, she continues to be a vibrant role model for all members of the Deaf community, particularly for Deaf people of color. Storm also leads as an example for the hearing community, finding the courage to live a creative life.

Jeremy Lee Stone  Dramaturg  Brooklyn, NY

Jeremy Lee Stone
Dramaturg
Brooklyn, NY

+ Jeremy Lee Stone

Jeremy was born and raised in New York City. He attended a school for the Deaf then later transitioned to a mainstream setting. As a teenager, he joined and performed with the ASL Slam team for five years. His involvement there taught him how to present and ultimately express American Sign Language to an audience as an art.

His interest in language continued to guide his learning experience, leading him to the platform of social media. Jeremy established an Instagram account that included ASL storytelling. The positive impact of the stories posted was evident after receiving growing attention on the page. The success was favorable and, perhaps he should have been satisfied with just that, yet, in turn, it fueled his desire to share his passion through that of business.

This is when ASL NYC and ASL Elements were born. Both businesses now operate in D.U.M.B.O, Brooklyn. Space welcomes deaf, hearing, and hard of hearing students who are interested in expression through ASL and learning the language as a purely visual form of communication.

Jason Roberts  Filmmaker St. Louis, Missouri

Jason Roberts
Filmmaker
St. Louis, Missouri

+ Jason Roberts

Jason Roberts was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. Without access to captions in the 80’s, he focused on shots and body language to understand the stories. He developed an early interest in films as strongly influenced by Star Wars and 80’s shows/movies, even one with the Brat Pack! If you don’t know what is the Brat Pack, ask him as he will be gladly explain.

He graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a bachelor of Applied Science in Multi-Disciplinary Studies with not just one major, but four majors! (Illustration, film, marketing and engineering.) He has been involved in several film productions such as Meet Bill, editing international award-winning Lake Windfall, The Deaf Club, Finding June, and his first directorial-debut, Hedy and Heidi: The Lost Sister. He continues to be involved in film productions, while doing freelance video editing.

Jason lives in St. Louis with his wife, Katie and his baby son, Logan, along with their two dogs, Plutonium and Lily (she’s deaf). Fun fact: Their baby announcement was done at Camp Mark Seven, courtesy of Clare Cassidy

Melissa Jane Kielbus  Filmmaker  Los Angeles, California

Melissa Jane Kielbus
Filmmaker
Los Angeles, California

+ Melissa Jane Kielbus

Melissa Jane Kielbus is a Deaf filmmaker that has been everywhere in the United States of America.

She graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2013 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts for Film and a Bachelor of Science for Psychology with a minor in Deaf Cultural Studies. She has also obtained a Performing Arts certificate from the NTID department. An avid cinematographer, she is licensed to film underwater with the PADI underwater videography certification.

She is currently working as the Digital Media Director for Copper & Water, LLC. She also does freelance work, doing projects with several different companies and start-up businesses on the side.

Melissa Jane Kielbus

Moises Tobias  Filmmaker Los Angeles, California

Moises Tobias
Filmmaker
Los Angeles, California

+ Moises Tobias

Moises Tobias is from Los Angeles, and grew up interested in the art world. I recognized my abilities as a filmmaker and story creator early on. I graduated from Marlton School for the Deaf. Currently, I am attending Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in the Associate of Graphic Design program. Following this, my desire is to apply to the School of Film and Animation (SOFA) in RIT program for the Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) degree in 3d animation. My goal is to become a film director. At RIT, I am involved in Tiger Media as a filmmaker and editor. My work is to empower and educate children in filmmaking, storyboard and script development.

Sophia Ballester  Make Up and SFX Paris, France

Sophia Ballester
Make Up and SFX
Paris, France

+ Sophia Ballester

Sophia Ballester, passionate about Art and creations: paintings, sculptures, special effects, photographs and cinemas. All these forms relate to her job as a make- up artist specializing in special effects. Sophia's many projects are to participate in short / feature films, TV, photography sessions, theater, fashion and dance. She graduated from the Perth College of Beauty Therapy in Western Australia, and the Métamorphoses School of Make-up Special Effects in Strasbourg, France. She trained with world-renowned make-up artists with Kazuhiro Tsuji and Jordu Schell.

Jay Kowalczyk  Special Project Austin, Texas

Jay Kowalczyk
Special Project
Austin, Texas

+ Jay Kowalczyk

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!

Ruan du Plessis  Filmmaker South Africa and Austin, Texas

Ruan du Plessis
Filmmaker
South Africa and Austin, Texas

+ Ruan du Plessis

Born in South Africa where lions, zebras, and elephants roam the land, Ruan du Plessis has an eye for the lens. Ruan moved to the United States when he was fourteen and settled in Indiana for his high school years. At Indiana School for the Deaf, he found his passion for filmmaking when the school gave him an opportunity to make a motion picture. His passion didn’t stop there. Ruan continued to enrich his filmmaking talents working with ASL Films and Rustic Lantern Films. Over those years working with the two film companies, he produced a total of nine films, including the exciting movie, “Legend of Mountain Man” and the drama, “Gerald.” Ruan is currently employed with Communication Service for the Deaf under the CSD Creative department as a filmmaker. He is very excited to work with the new and emerging learners at DFC! Want to stay in touch with Ruan? Follow him on Instagram: @justruan

https://csdcreative.com

Stephanie Garrison  Visual Designer Texas

Stephanie Garrison
Visual Designer
Texas

+ Stephanie Garrison

I’m Stephanie Garrison and my journey is whole lot of adventures as a freelancing visual designer and filmmaker with five years. I grew up in Austin, Texas. I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rochester Institute of Technology. Many recognized my talent in design and film whereas I can rotate their design into an attractive, colorful, and simplicity with a sense of an outstanding brand awareness and marketing strategy through the society and internet. I am excited to share my knowledge, skills and experiences with youth.

Stephanie Garrison

Brigitte Gros Animator Austin, Texas

Brigitte Gros
Animator
Austin, Texas

+ Brigitte Gros

Brigitte Gros, a freelance graphic designer/animator from Paris, France. She had been living in Canada for 8 years where she graduated from Fashion Design in the University of Quebec in Montreal and a certificate of web/mobile and motion graphic designer at Ecole Multimedia in Paris. She worked in several companies from the creative agency, a French media magazines, and tech start-up. She develops her vision inspired by the design of minimalism, negative-positive space, optic and pop art. Excited to be part of this Deaf Film Camp.

Brigitte Gros

Toj Mora Austin, Texas Filmmaker

Toj Mora
Austin, Texas
Filmmaker

+ Toj Mora

As a teenager, Toj developed a deep fascination with films and storytelling and sought out every scrap of deaf film and video content he could find. He quickly joined the excellent Video Production class at Texas School for the Deaf and made films and videos that were broadcast across campus.

As an intern, and later as a colleaque, Toj earned his stripes working with two talented deaf filmmakers Bradley Gantt and Ruan du Plessis (who are also DFC staff!) Toj currently enjoys working as a freelance filmmaker and editor for various clients such as The Daily Moth, DeafTec, Convo, and Communication Service for the Deaf.

As someone who was inspired by the previous generation of deaf filmmakers back in the late 00's, Toj can think of no greater honor than empowering the next generation of deaf filmmakers at Deaf Film Camp!

André Almeida Filmmaker Lisbon, Portugal & Berlin, Germany

André Almeida
Filmmaker
Lisbon, Portugal & Berlin, Germany

+ André Almeida

André is a Portuguese that is currently living in Berlin, He specializes in multimedia. His experience as a Deaf artist is literally all over the map, he has studied Frontrunners in Denmark, worked with the Portuguese Association of the Deaf, the H3 World TV as a presenter in 23rd Summer Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey, and was a board member of the European Union for the Deaf Youth. He also manages his own production, André Almeida Productions, and is currently working in yomma.

Vincent Venutolo  Film Technician Long Branch, New Jersey

Vincent Venutolo
Film Technician
Long Branch, New Jersey

+ Vincent Venutolo

My name is Vincent Venutolo, I am proud to be Italian and grew up as a surfer from Jersey Shore. I graduated NTID with an associate degree in Networking System Administrations and continues pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Web & App Development in RIT. I am proud to be the alumnus of Tiger Media 2016-17 team that broke a trend by producing over 30 videos. I love being involved in supporting the locals to the world for Deaf communities. I am proud to be a co-founder of LavaAcai Creative LLC with Stephanie Garrison. And now, I will be your technician, and I'm stoked to give you the superpower to change the world as I did!

Omar Guzman  Graphic Designer Austin, Texas

Omar Guzman
Graphic Designer
Austin, Texas

+ Omar Guzman

Originally from Mexico City, Omar Guzman moved to California at the age of 9. His passion for art began early on and is evident in every design he creates. Not only does he work for Convo as their Visual Designer, he also continues working with several Deaf individuals and businesses to produce superior works of art. He enjoys being a role model for the Deaf youth, helping them find their own potential through art and building their confidence to follow their dreams. In his spare time, you can find him going camping! He is truly honored to be a part of Deaf Film Camp and looks forward to joining their stellar team.

Omar Guzman

Mara Ladines  Costume Designer Brooklyn, NY

Mara Ladines
Costume Designer
Brooklyn, NY

+ Mara Ladines

Mara Ladines was born in the Philippines and raised in Los Angeles, California. It was in L.A. that she developed her love for music and fashion. Mara took classes in Fashion Design, Marketing, and Graphic Design during her high school years. She then spent her undergraduate years at California State University, Northridge, majoring in Fashion Design and Production. Mara also worked with wardrobe stylists for the film and TV industry at the Bloomingdale studio.
After her graduation, she decided to establish a business. When By Mara launched in 2008, it had only two products. Today, By Mara has expanded into a countrywide business with another flagship in Brooklyn, New York, selling more than 100 products! Mara can be your wardrobe stylist, sharing her passion of fashion, history and trends.

Amelia Hamilton  Photographer Austin, Texas

Amelia Hamilton
Photographer
Austin, Texas

+ Amelia Hamilton

Hello! I am Amelia Hamilton. I was born and raised in Austin, TX! I am a currently student at RIT majoring in Visual Media and Digital Business! I also am a lifestyle photographer! I always love to take pictures since I was a little girl! I would want to have a camera in my hands instead of a stuffed animal. As I got older, I did some photography in high school which led me to decided to buy my own DSLR camera. Now, it has been 3 years, and I am so much more passionate in what I do. And, even more when I work and grow with my clients. I absolutely love interacting with people, and documenting forever cherished moments.

Bradley Gantt  Filmmaker Austin, Texax

Bradley Gantt
Filmmaker
Austin, Texax

+ Bradley Gantt

Bradley Gantt is a filmmaker from Austin and Indiana. Filmmaking came naturally to him. With over 10 years of professional experience in the video/film productions such as ASL Films, Rustic Lantern Films, BurtonMotion’s MATHER, he brings extensive knowledge of cinema techniques, editing, and visual effects to CSD Creative. Known for the ability of "making magic out of nothing", he enjoys the challenges of changing the perception of the Deaf community to the world through the Deaf lens.

His quote? "We still have a lot to do". Let’s follow his cinematic adventures on Instagram: @mrbradley7 https://csdcreative.com

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TESTIMONIALS

DFC is a wonderful camp for deaf children to make strong connections with other deaf children, build up their confidence and self esteem in a safe and trustworthy environment while learning basic concepts of film making and having fun at the same time!

 

As parents of a first-time camper with some special needs, we had some trepidation about how he would fit in, and whether he'd be successful.  Getting the updates and pictures throughout the 12 days showed us that he was having the time of his life, actively participating, fully engaged. We appreciated the attentiveness with which Michael responded to our every question, and how the staff encouraged and engaged him during DFC.

 

It was a great experience for both my daughter's,  they can't wait to go back! 

 

It was wonderful being able to view all the films at the local theater - made the kids feel special, and the parents enjoyed being included. My son established friendships that he has maintained since camp. He is saving up for some film equipment now! 

 

Deaf Film Camp, quite literally changed our daughter's life. She was excited to go, but came home almost a new person. She is confident in who she is, and is dedicated to doing well at school in order to pursue a career in film. Thank you for helping to direct her life.

My daughter's favorite camp. She learned more in two weeks than in her entire semester photography class in school.  She made so many new friends and continues to stay in touch with them. For a mainstreamed deaf child, this camp is a treasured time that she gets to be in a deaf environment with full accessibility.  She loves her DFC/CM7 friends!

 

Serena enjoyed the camp tremendously!  She met so many new friends from all over the country (really the world.)  She learned more at Deaf Film Camp in two weeks than she learned in an entire semester in her photography class at school!  Counselors and staff were fabulous!  She wishes it was three weeks.

 

We would like to thank you for offering this amazing opportunity to teenagers with hearing loss. Our daughter had a wonderful time at camp and  made a lot of new friends. Since our daughter attended this summer, we have told everyone about DFC. She is interested in studying film in college.This was a chance of a lifetime to work with so many talented professionals, each of whom opened our children's eyes to dream of their future. These students now realize that anything is possible. We wish we had know about it sooner, because she definitely would have made this her annual summer trip. Attending DFC allowed her to meet wonderful roles models in the Deaf Community. On the last day of camp, it was clear that each of all these children would have stayed longer if they could. No one wanted to leave. You and your staff have touched the lives of these students forever, and for that we are truly grateful.

 

CM7 IS SPONSORED BY

 

Camp Mark 7 Showcase Package- $5K or higher



CM7 Programs Showcase Package - $3K or higher



CM7 Tree of Love Package -$1K or higher