The South Fork, with its easy access from New York City, its beautiful beaches and historic villages, and its artistic and small-town flavor, has long been known as a haven for the glitterati. A perfect place to make a movie or film a TV show.
However, it’s still pretty rare to see lights and cameras around town. Now the Town of East Hampton is trying to do something about that, with a recently formed Media Advisory Committee and a new Web site to assist in the development of the film and media industries.
“You always see fake Hamptons on TV,” said Steven Gaines, the author of “Philistines at the Hedgerow,” a long-time East Hampton resident, and a member of the committee. “It’s about time they use the real thing. We should be getting some of the revenue that comes from the low-density, high-income movie shoots, where they shoot in another community and pretend it’s us.” Theresa Quigley, the deputy supervisor of East Hampton, is on the committee and said its aim is to help bring more economic good news to the town.
“For each film, there are about 80 people that need to be housed and fed, need their children cared for, and so on.”
The purpose of the committee and the Web site FilmTheHamptons.org will be to facilitate film, print photography, television, and other media productions by providing a one-stop source where people might find details on all the necessities of putting together a production in one neat place, whether they’re looking for hairstylists, makeup artists, rooms to rent, set painters, catering services, locations, or information about permits.
“People don’t realize the diversity of the community in terms of locations. There are Bridgehampton mansions, lesser income areas, the beach — it’s very film-friendly out here,” said Michael Wudyka, the chairman of the committee and the owner of East Hampton Studios, a 32,000-square-foot facility with pre and postproduction capabilities, along with a large studio space.
East Hampton Studios was recently the site of the shoot for an independent film called “Knucklehead.”
“It was a small company,” said Mr. Wudyka, who feels that the Hamptons and its sources are best suited for independent and student films. “But there are over 40 colleges on Long Island” and small film companies in Long Island and New York City that would find working in the Hamptons appealing, he said.
“We can find the locations, put them up, feed them, and help them shoot the film very inexpensively,” said Mr. Wudyka, who also pointed out the 30-percent tax incentive offered to companies that shoot their films in New York State.
For now, the Media Advisory Committee and FilmTheHamptons.org are looking for local professionals in every area of film and media-related industries. Every sector that might be helpful to a film company: drivers, movers, baby sitters, as well as those who are well versed in filmmaking, like camera operators and location scouts, have been invited to visit the Web site and post their information.
The committee is working closely with the Suffolk County Film Commission and other media to drive filmmakers and videographers to the site.
“This is a great thing for the town,” said Mr. Gaines.