Where Was Selah and the Spades Filmed?

‘Selah and the Spades’ is an independent film directed by Tayarisha Poe. The film delves into the school politics of Selah and her friends. The division of schools into factions brings about a different kind of tonality to the film and its characters. In any case, Poe’s debut as a feature film director makes its pass at the intricacies of student lives and emotions that incorporates their identities. The film stars Lovie Simone, Jharrel Jerome, Ana Mulvoy Ten, Jesse Williams, etc. 

The film is more of a one destination kind of film as everything unfolds in the heart of one place, in Haldwell, an elite boarding school in Pennsylvania. Though the school politics drama captures many perspectives, its central focus is on Selah, the protagonist of the film.

Where Was Selah and the Spades Filmed?

Elite schools and its cliche lifestyle is something we have seen in quite a number of films and shows. The ambiance creates the mindset and culture of the characters through which they bond, either making friends for a lifetime or learning those important life lessons that stick by for a lifetime. Who can really forget the experience of the troop in ‘Dead Poets Society’?

‘Selah and the Spades’ too have one such central location where everything unravels for its students and that’s an elite school in Pennsylvania named Haldwell. Though such a school doesn’t exist in Pennsylvania, the fictional impetus for the school found true grounds in the Academy at Penguin Hall in Wenham, Massachusetts.

It has been reported that producer Lauren McBride initially wanted to shoot the film in Pennsylvania. However, the team could not find such a location there and found their imagined site at the Academy at Penguin Hall.

Wenham, Massachusetts

The Academy at Penguin Hall is an all-girls independent preparatory college. Founded in 2015, the school in Wenham caters to students of the North Shore. The school’s history dates way back to 1929. It was built by the architect Harrie T. Lindeberg. It was commissioned by a socialite named Ruby Boyer Miller, from Detroit. Miller was believed to have spent most of her summer there with her children.

After several years, the manor was acquired by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. This was the beginning of the house being converted into a home for the education of young women. The Mullen advertising had purchased it in 1980, however, the same was later bought by Penguin Hall.

The school is in a lawn area that extends itself into a woodland area for around 50 acres. The academic building is separated into three wings called the Manor House, Abbey Walk, and the Ruby Lane. All in all, the school is well established and provides the correct ambiance to such a film.

The cast too seemed to have had a fun time at the shooting location where they spent quite the number of days that led up to a couple of weeks. Ana Mulvoy Ten posted on her Instagram page about how the Academy at Penguin Hall was their set for a few weeks.


And here’s an ad seeking local talent to play extras in the film.


The film which portrays a closed world for a bunch of students, uses the halls, dorms, commonplace and so forth to set the daily lives of their characters. Adjacent to this, it also utilizes the woodland areas near the school to further the plot to its dark arrays and students’ hang out spots. Independent films like these tend to use such compact locations to further the realistic element of its narratives.

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