Martin Whittier and Nate Brubaker, two filmmakers from the Baltimore and Washington DC area who are credited with advancing the region’s film industry, died in a car accident Thursday while returning to Maryland after a production in Philadelphia.
Whittier and Brubaker were seated in a BMW M2 that stalled in the middle lane of a dark stretch of I-95, Delaware State Police said. At approximately 10:20 p.m., a van truck traveling south on I-95 near Churchman Road struck the car from behind, pushing it toward the right shoulder. The van then caught fire and trapped the men inside the car.
Whittier, 37, of Havre De Grace, leaves behind a wife and two children. Brubaker, 27, from Halethorpe, leaves behind a fiancée. The couple had planned to marry in September.
Brubaker was considered a pioneer of virtual production filming. He was closely involved in creating the first all-digital LED wall in the Baltimore area, which is used to create sets in film productions, such as in Disney’s “The Mandalorian,” said friend and filmmaker Andrew Geraci. .
“He rose through the ranks from nothing, just shooting videos, to owning and producing his own work in his own studio, which is quite remarkable,” Geraci said. Brubaker owned Rock Shore Studios.
Whitter started out as a Steadicam operator and cinematographer before starting a camera equipment rental company in Baltimore called Charm Cine Rentals. He also owned the Liberty Camera rental company in Philadelphia and Capital Camera in Alexandria, Virginia. He recently sold his business to spend more time with his family.
Whitter was known for helping young filmmakers just starting out in the industry by offering deep discounts on camera equipment rentals.
“He was always a very nice, very honorable and very humble person,” Geraci said. “And he was always at the forefront of learning new types of equipment and new stylizations and implementing them in his business. But he was more of a cornerstone with people because he knew everyone in the industry.
Delaware State Police are investigating the crash. The truck driver was not injured.