Q. What is BOPA’s Film Office responsible for?
A. The Baltimore Film Office is responsible for marketing Baltimore as a destination for film production companies to do business in the city. We are trying to attract these companies because they provide an enormous economic benefit to the city by creating jobs, supporting small businesses and the general economic activity. We’re also showcasing all types of locations that the city offers. Once they decide to come here, we’re the liaison between the production company and city agencies, so we expedite all the city services like getting permits for a street closure.
Q. What is your role with the Baltimore Film Office?
A. I am the director of the Baltimore Film Office. In the industry, I’m referred to as the Film Commissioner. And this was a great fit, it’s really important for the director to have experience in the film industry. Fran Carmen, who is the logistics coordinator for the Film Office, and I both have been doing this for 30 years. Fran worked for DOT (Department of Transportation) and I was a location manager. My first feature was Avalon in 1989, before that I worked on commercials.
Q. About how many projects get filmed in Baltimore annually?
A. Every year we get about 100-120 projects. In Fiscal Year 16, we had 135 projects shoot in Baltimore.
Q. So it’s not all movies and TV shows that get filmed here?
A. No, for instance we have Audi doing an electric car commercial here Friday night, these types of productions are a big part of our market -commercials, independents, political shots, reality shows, still shoots – all of these productions hire local crew and actors and contribute to our economy.
Q. How do you think filming in Baltimore is beneficial to the city i.e. economically, or with perception?
A. Part of why this industry is important besides the jobs and the economic impact is tourism—when people see places on the big screen they want to come see where certain things are filmed. There are places in Hairspray and some of the older films and on a bigger scale like Wedding Crashers, people will go to Easton to stay at the Inn at Perry Cabin or sail on the Schooner Woodwind, so film tourism is a big thing. I always look at it in a positive way, that this is an industry that creates jobs and economic impact as well as a sense of pride of having something filmed in your city. Filming presents us as a diverse city because we have so many different looks—we have modern buildings, we have seaports, we have historic buildings and amazing architecture throughout the city.
Q. What is your favorite part about working with the Baltimore Film Office?
A. I like challenges and problem solving and every day is something new. It’s constantly changing. I like being out in the field and exploring Baltimore. I think one of the reasons I went into location managing to begin with is, because I travelled and backpacked through Europe after college and I loved it.
Q. What is your favorite film/tv show that you’ve worked on that’s been filmed here?
A.For me, it’s personal because I was a location manager on Avalon so that was my favorite. It was a big budget film for that time; it was Barry Levinson’s love story to Baltimore about his family coming from Russia to Baltimore. It spanned many periods starting in 1919 so it was a beautiful period film.