Film Camp for Deaf Teens Launches This Summer

Jamie Munro
The Camp Mark Seven lodge

The new effort in upstate New York, which is part of Camp Mark Seven, will bring in three deaf filmmakers to guide campers through the world of film.

A camp for deaf kids in upstate New York is adding a film program, and leaning on Hollywood to launch it.

Started in 1981, Camp Mark Seven has evolved to include not only deaf campers, but also campers whose parents are deaf, making it a haven for all those fluent in American Sign Language. Now, the camp is evolving even more as it introduces its first summer of Deaf Film Camp.

Its new Deaf Film Camp has recruited three deaf filmmakers to guide campers. Screenwriter Kalen Feeney, filmmaker Wayne Betts Jr., and animator Braam Jordaan will teach teens the ins and outs of screenwriting, directing, acting, effects, and cinematography.

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Betts, an experimental filmmaker, has teamed up with fellow counselor and award-winning South African animator Jordaan for the short film The Renaissance. Feeney has appeared on Cold Case and Switched at Birth, and produces and stars in the upcoming Deaf Ghost.

"We're breaking new ground with the camp and for these campers, who see—and can express—the world in unique ways," says Stacy Marie Lawrence, the director of Deaf Film Camp. "In the hands of filmmakers like Braam, Kalen and Wayne, the campers will learn what a truly amazing experience deaf film can be."

Deaf Film Camp runs from July 21 to August 2, and the only requirement for attendance is that campers have a string interest in filmmaking. Camp Mark Seven is run solely on donations intended to subsidize the cost of camp for the campers.

Through making “films which explore the world through a unique sensibility,” Deaf Film Camp aims to guide the deaf filmmakers of the future and give them a summer they’ll never forget. 

For more information, visit the Deaf Film Camp website or email deaffilmcamp@gmail.com.

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