Daniel Soudakoff: My experience at Deaf Film Camp

Posted on August 31, 2017

I first came to Deaf Film Camp in 2016, and was completely new to the film world. I liked to make stop motion videos with Legos, so I knew I had a knowledge and interest in learning as much as I could about film.

The opportunity to attend a camp so focused on what I love to do, while being surrounded by people just like me, was really exciting.

Whilst being at Deaf Film Camp, I met people who inspired me to learn more and converted me into a filmmaker. It was a place I did not want to leave, and I was in tears when it came time to say goodbye to my fellow campers and teachers.

I felt like the camp was a part of me, so much so, that I spent the next year begging my parents to let me return for another year.

During that first year away from the camp, I immersed myself in everything I had learned and quickly saw my passion for animation grow. I worked day in and out with an animation program called Blender, and waited to the day I would get to return to Deaf Film Camp.

Finally, in August 2017, I was boarding a flight from Los Angeles to Syracuse. A quick drive later, and I was back at Deaf Film Camp! Once again, I was able to connect with peers who had a desire to learn as much about the film process, from acting to directing, from a dedicated, life-changing group of teachers.

This year, I also had a surprise with a new passion of photography! Clare Cassidy is a photographer who taught us that art form this year, and I fell in love with it. Another favorite teacher, Storm Smith, teaches editing. Even though she is a wonderful editing teacher, she is also someone who truly gets us as students. I relate with her on a spiritual level, which is something I can’t always say about other teachers at home.

Once again, in just a few short weeks, I’ve noticed a huge change in my experience. When I think back at who I was when I first attended Deaf Film Camp, I realize how much more I know about myself and what I love to do. In just two years, I’ve learned filmography, photography and animation. Now, as I leave camp again, I have plans for artistic endeavors within the next year. I’m currently working on my own animation, which I’m hoping will be out soon!

Deaf Film Camp gave me the chance to discover what I love most about the world of film, all while surrounded by fellow deaf campers and teachers that became friends. I can’t wait to return again in 2018!

From August 6 to 18, 26 campers, 14 teachers, nine staff counselors, and numerous other support staff diverged on an old hotel in Old Forge, NY. The old hotel, now Camp Mark 7, plays host to the annual Deaf Film Camp. For five years now, this one-of-a-kind youth camp brings together some of the top deaf talent in media and film making fields. The campers, ranging in age from 13-17 spend two weeks learning the ins and outs of film making and production. They form four different teams, or “production companies” that attend workshops on storytelling, acting, filming and editing, and use the latest in film production technology and equipment to produce a 5-minute short film. The camp concludes with a “Green Carpet” opening in the town’s theater. The event, attended by friends and family, is also open to the public. For more information on Deaf Film Camp and to see pictures from camp this year, visit deaffilmcamp.com

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