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. 


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 an Art Director at BBDO Worldwide, one of the top advertising agency in the world. Over the years, she has robust career experiences in a higher educational institution and advertising altogether for almost ten years. Storm’s significant work over the years has been brought to the attention of BBDO and recruited Storm as an Art Director. This makes Storm the first (historically) Deaf woman to be part of the Creative Residency and ever to work for BBDO Worldwide. Storm featured in PopSugar, Billboard, Muse by CLIO, Campaign, TV Guide and her BBDO’s influential campaign ad for International Women’s Day 2018 “It’s Time to Redefine” was also featured in AdAge, AdWeek, Creativity, PR News Wire, The Drum and more. Storm has successfully executed in collaborations with Apple, Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin, Tony Nominee & The Waking Dead actress, Lauren Ridloff, 13th woman on Harlem Globetrotter, activist and influencer, Crissa Ace Jackson and incredible young rising star and influencer, Samaya Clark-Gabriel. Prior BBDO, she produced TV spots for Gallaudet University during ABC Family’s Switched at Birth. As a dynamic motivational speaker, she has presented at NAB Show (National Association Broadcaster), FCPX Creative Summits, and several universities including Harvard University, Boston University, and UCLA. Storm’s countless contributions and appearances have earned her numerous awards, including a prestigious award from the City of Los Angeles, presented by the mayor. Storm held a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology at Gallaudet University and a Master of Arts degree in Media Entrepreneurship at American University in Washington D.C.

Jeremy Lee Stone Dramaturg Brooklyn, NY

Jeremy Lee Stone
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
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
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
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.

Bradley Gantt Filmmaker Austin, Texas

Bradley Gantt
Austin, Texas

+ Bradley Gantt

Bradley Gantt is a filmmaker with well over fifteen years of professional experience in the industry. He brings his extensive knowledge of cinematic techniques, lighting setups, editing, and visual effects give each video project a life of its own.

When Bradley was a kid in Indiana, he started by shooting experimental videos on VHS tapes in the woods behind his family home. Today, he still brings that never-ending passion to his work today as he enjoys pushing cinema to new heights. Starting a video production business (Bus Door Films) with his longtime friend Ruan du Plessis has been a lifelong goal for Bradley.

With Bus Door Films, Bradley shares his one-of-a-kind talent with the world through his captivating style of storytelling and ability to foresee a client’s needs, especially when it comes to creating motion pictures with a new perspective.

Follow him on IG @mrbradley7


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
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. Ruan is currently starting up his filming business, Bus Door Films, with his longtime best friend, Bradley Gantt. 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


Stephanie Garrison Visual Designer Texas

Stephanie Garrison
Visual Designer

+ Stephanie Garrison

I edited to make it into a 3rd person perspective as well as brevity since our website's bios are really short. Let me know if this is okay.

Stephanie Garrison is originally from Austin, Texas. She has two separate degrees in Graphic Design, AAS from Austin Community College, and a BFA in Graphic Design from RIT.

Her professional experience are varied related to Graphic Web Design and Multimedia field. In 2017, Stephanie and her partner created a Web Design & Development business, "LavaAcai Creative LLC." She also is proficient with creating designs through softwares and even animation.

She is excited and honored to be a part of the DFC where she can share her knowledge, skills, and experiences with young kids.

Please take the time to click here to see her portfolio and work samples.

Brigitte Gros Animator Paris, France

Brigitte Gros
Paris, France

+ 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

+ 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
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 Stone Costume Designer Brooklyn, NY

Mara Ladines Stone
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
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.



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.