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
Michael Kaufer has been a tireless supporter of Camp Mark Seven since 2010, raising more than $150,000 in donations by co-chairing CM7 Galas, and is honored to be the newly appointed Deaf Film Camp Director. Michael has been a educator of Deaf, Hard of Hearing and KODA children for more than 25 years, and is also an Apple Expert where he provides workshops and training on Apple software commonly used at DFC. He strongly believes in Deaf Film Camp's mission, and thinks every deaf and hard-of-hearing child has so much to benefit from learning about filmmaking, photography, and acting! Fun Fact: The first film he ever saw in the theaters was Mary Poppins, and he’s been in love with the silver screen ever since!
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.
Jay Kowalczyk was born in Florida, raised in New York, educated in Maryland and Washington, DC, lived in California and now lives in Austin, TX. He graduated from Gallaudet University with a degree in Social Work, and now serves as a media producer for Convo Communications. His training in Social Work 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 Nyle DiMarco - Beyoutiful and Austin - Our Community 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!
Braam Jordaan consistently inspires others through his involvement in the Deaf community. He sets high standards in his work while drawing inspiration from the very community he is a part of. Uplifting the communities through his visual work, portraying strong messages of hope and happiness is a true reflection of the cultural pride he inherited as a Deaf person.
With over 30 major international awards under his belt for film and animation work, he advocates tirelessly to promote sign language and human rights for Deaf people around the world through his colorful spectrum of work. He works with the United Nations and is a council member of the UNICEF Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities. He has published three children’s books with Cambridge University Press. He is the Director of Creative Marketing for Convo Communications.
Daniel Durant grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, and makes his home wherever his work takes him – which is usually New York, Detroit and LA. As an experienced actor on stage, screen, and social media, Daniel made his Broadway debut in 2015 and continued to shine on Broadway into 2016 as the co-lead role of “Moritz” in Spring Awakening. Daniel has received numerous accolades for this work, being featured in “The 12 Best Broadway Debuts of 2015” (TheatreMania), “Top 10 Best Theatrical Performances of 2015” (Huffington Post) and in the New York Times (“Daniel N. Durant: Telling Stories with His Hands”). Daniel has starred in several Deaf West productions, including the Off-Broadway productions of Spring Awakening (Moritz), Flowers for Algernon (Charlie) and the 2012 production of Cyrano (Bill). Daniel is also a recurring co-star in ABC Family’s Switched at Birth,playing the character of “Matthew” and co-starring in their 2013 Peabody-winning episode entitled “Uprising.”
Daniel is a passionate advocate for the Deaf community, with a life mission of supporting Deaf youth at every opportunity.
Over the next year, Daniel will continue to participate in theatre performances and workshops, speaking engagements and educational opportunities to spread the word that Deaf CAN!
Ipek D. Mehlum is an actress and passionate about the visual storytelling. She was born to the Deaf parents and raised in Istanbul, Turkey then moved to Oslo, Norway at age 14. Currently, she is residing in Oslo with her precious baby son Milo. Ipek has performed in various themed plays at Teater Manu productions, Oslo for over twenty years include her leading role as Jack in "Jack and the Beanstalk", which is garnering recognition worldwide, "Junk Pixies" as Clown role, and "The Fridget". She was involved in Deaf West's play, "Cyrano" based in Los Angeles, CA. She was also performed in "Jealousy" with the collaborated productions of Teater Manu and Deaf West. Ipek was nominated for Best Actress on behalf of her role, Pinocchio play at the Hedda Award in 2010. Ipek was featured in one of the leading roles in a new NRK drama series, Bad coffee produced by Døves Media based in Oslo, Norway. She played a role, Jack on DawnSign Press DVD, "Once Upon A Sign: The New Jack and the Beanstalk in American Sign Language
This is what you need to know about Douglas Ridloff. He is a proud resident of Brooklyn, USA. He likes: black coffee, street art and denim. He does: poetry, storytelling and freestyling, all in Sign Language. He is: a fearless visual artist, a poet, a performer, the owner and executive director of ASL SLAM, a monthly open mic event that is much more than just open mic. Ridloff co-produced and performed in ASL in the Raw, a “blue” two-man show. He followed up Jack of All ASL with Capital D, a mixed-media show that was shown nationally. He believes: that Sign Language is something that can be done straight or way out there—doesn’t matter, as long there’s a stage/camera and language freedom.
Ridloff is also co-founder and Chief Executive Director of Start-up business called CineSigns.
Born in the Midwest and bred on both coasts of the country, Lauren Ridloff is an educator, writer and sign language consultant. Lauren discovered her love of poetry and literature as a first grader. She wrote a poem titled “So What, What So” about her experience as a Deaf child who was proud of sign language and won a citywide poetry contest. Lauren went on to explore the relationship between English and American Sign Language, first as a undergraduate at California State University Northridge and then as a graduate at Hunter College in New York City. As Miss Deaf America 2000 Lauren focused on the richness of visual storytelling. She was the sign language model for several sign language dictionaries: 1,000 Signs to Know, The Gallaudet University Dictionary of American Sign Language, Thunder Bay Press’ American Sign Language, educational video programs such as Vista’s Signing Naturally. Lauren loves the paradoxical nature of American Sign Language in its literary form—its unique ability to be simultaneously abstract yet concise and detailed. Today Lauren lives in a 100-year old townhouse in Brooklyn with her husband and two budding poets, Levi and Wyatt. Lauren loves the paradoxical nature of American Sign Language in its literary form—its unique ability to be simultaneously abstract yet concise and detailed. She is thrilled to join the team at Deaf Film Camp!
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.
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. He is currently working on a personal art project, Tub Time With Tate while continuing to do his diverse range of photography.
DFC would like to recognize two devoted and hardworking individuals/volunteers who have made a significant impact on this unique program from 2013-2015. A special thanks goes to:
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 Frels 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.
Lauren Ridloff and Michael Kaufer for being Masters of Ceremony for our Gala, and to Toby Silver for all her invaluable help in putting together a fantastic Gala Program.
The interpreters at the Gala - Candace Broecker Penn, Stephanie Feyne, Rick Rubin, Lynnette Taylor, Veronica Staehle, Craig Fogel, Dylan Geil, Mandy Heinbaugh, Kathy Walley, Sarah Brandenburg and Bill Moody.
Isabella Sterly and Ashley Hlibok for helping with the children's program at the Gala.
Anthony Farina for creating the teaser video for DFC 2016
Sign up for the 2016 pre-registration list.*
* Campers must be deaf/hard-of-hearing & age 12 to 16 for eligibility
The 2016 DFC program will be held August 7 - 19th.
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 Michael Kaufer, Deaf Film Camp Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.