Two Maryland filmmakers died Thursday in a car crash after filming in Philadelphia.
Delaware State Police said Martin Whittier and Nate Brubaker were traveling southbound on I-95 near Newark, Delaware, around 10:20 p.m. when their BMW M2 stalled in the dark middle lane near Churchman Road.
They were reportedly struck from behind by a Freightliner box truck that caught fire and pinned the men, who were pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver wasn’t injured.
“I’ve known these guys for like 10 years and it’s so sad they both died,” colleague Andrew Geraci told WTOP. “We actually started working together about nine years ago on some local projects in the DMV area. … It’s just really sad and very unfortunate that they both passed away. It’s really left a big hole in the industry.”
The Baltimore Sun reports Whittier, 37, from Havre de Grace, was a Steadicam operator and director of photography who owned the camera rental companies Charm Cine, in Baltimore; Liberty Camera, in Philadelphia, and Capital Camera, in Alexandria, Virginia, before selling his company to Red Star Pictures to spend time with his family.
Geraci said Whitter was his assistant camera on the second season of “House of Cards.” He remembered Whittier as “fantastic, really a wonderful guy, someone who was a go-getter and would get the job done. Had a really great eye for photography.”
Brubaker, 27, of Halethorpe, owned Rock Shore Studios in Baltimore and was a pioneer of virtual production filming; he’s been credited with creating the first large-scale LED wall in the Baltimore and D.C. area.
“He was also an A.C. (assistant camera) for me,” Geraci said. “He was always just a wonderful, shining beacon of light that was incredibly positive and a genuine nice guy. … He developed some incredibly innovative technology. … Through his tenacity and ability to see the future, he really made a name for himself.”
Brubaker was also a camera operator on the Netflix documentary “Spelling the Dream” (2018), chronicling the ups and downs of four Indian-American spelling bee contestants.
“I’m at a loss of words,” director Sam Rega told WTOP. “… I literally was in tears just reading — how devastating it is and how young he is.”
Whittier is survived by his wife, Daniela; their 12th wedding anniversary was Sunday. They have two sons, Ben and Emmett, for whom Martin had built a rock wall in their basement, according to his family’s GoFundMe campaign.
Brubaker was planning to marry his fiancee, Shannon, in September. They had two dogs, Ollie and Lola, according to his family’s GoFundMe campaign.
“I really feel for their families,” Geraci said. “I really do hope people can help support them through their GoFundMes and help lay our friends to rest.”
The Associated Press and The Baltimore Sun contributed to this report.