How can you walk through Air Force One, ask questions in the White House press briefing room, and admire the gardens outside the Oval Office in less than two hours? Just tour the award-winning House of Cards (HOC) set in Joppa, MD, as 15 students from Baltimore School for the Arts (BSA) did yesterday.
Coordinated by Beatriz Bufrahi and Thomas Ventimiglia, who led this summer’s film and video workshop, the field trip gave BSA students LaShawnda Blue, Chace Chester, Blossom Freeman, Grace Furst, Isa Guitian, Marisa Guy, Shannon Hutchinson, Daniel Imhoff, Citlalli Islas, Mecca Lewis, Jade Pettis, Emmet Sheehan, and Jamar Taylor an up-close-and-personal look at everything that goes in to creating a film set.
HOC Construction Coordinator Michael Davis, whose daughter is a BSA alumna, and Set Decorator (and BSA STAGE one member) Tiffany Zappulla led the tour, allowing students to walk through and experience the meticulous detail and incredibly high quality of the iconic film sets.
“The important thing for our students was to be able to see not only what is in front of the camera, but all of the work that goes on behind the camera,” said Bufrahi.
Davis and Zappulla shared how the HOC team recreates historical pieces and how copyright issues impact their timelines.
“I didn’t realize how labor intensive the process was,” said BSA senior Mecca Lewis, who hopes to attend a film school in the fall. “The stitching, needlework, cutting out rugs. It takes so much work and detail for some parts of the set that aren’t even seen.”
Theatre Senior Daniel Imhoff learned how different challenges could be faced by a stage actor and a film actor.
“I loved being able to walk around the sets. The technicalities and challenges are so different from stage acting. Sets can be so disconnected. A stairway could lead to nowhere,” Imhoff said.
All of the students were surprised to learn the sheer number of people involved in making the HOC film sets authentic and realistic, “selling” it to the viewers—carpenters, painters, artists, designers, greenery experts, and more!
"It's amazing that so many people locally from different areas of expertise come together to build the sets,” Bufrahi said. “The film industry could create more jobs for Maryland. The state is incredibly beautiful, and we have all these film schools here. We should grow and use these resources."
Davis and Zapppulla emphasized that in addition to the artisans on contract with HOC, they also try to use Maryland businesses as much as possible, in purchasing furniture, re-upholstering chairs, etc.
“I learned today how important film is to the community of Baltimore,” Imhoff said.
Thank you, House of Cards, for an incredible learning experience for our students!