Home Alone In the Hamptons

“A Maid’s Room” was written and directed by Michael Walker
“The Maid’s Room,” a film set on the South Fork, plays on the tensions between year-rounders and city folk.

   Filming on “A Maid’s Room,” a movie set on the East End and featuring details that will be entertainingly familiar to Hamptoners, wrapped up last week in Bellport.
    “A Maid’s Room” was written and directed by Michael Walker, who first started working on the script some 20 years ago, according to Dolly Hall, the producer. The kernel of the story was inspired by a maid who had been with Mr. Walker’s family for a long time, she said. “He got older and had kids, and the story went from a ghost story and is now a psychological thriller. ‘Maid’s Room’ is partly about wealth and power, and the Hamptons has a mix of wealthy people and small-town life that is always interesting,” the director said.
    “The film is about a family who hire a Latina maid to look after their summer house and their 18-year-old son,” said Ms. Hall, who has produced more than 20 films. The parents go back to the city during the week, hoping to give their son some autonomy. “Things go very, very wrong. The son makes a lot of mistakes and the parents make a lot of mistakes. The maid finds herself in a compromising situation.”
    The project had a relatively small budget, and most of the filming was done in Bellport instead of on the East End. The director has lived in Bellport — a town notable for its marshes and sawgrass, a landscape with possibilities for eeriness — for the last 12 years.
    “Bellport wasn’t the setting, but we had a beautiful house that was very Hamptons-like and nearly the entire film takes place in the house,” Mr. Walker said. The South Fork is “a place where people have these great isolated houses and tend to lock themselves in.”
    “Bellport is much more middle class than the Hamptons and has more mosquitos,” Mr. Walker added wryly. “But there are things in common: They are both summer towns, and there are mixed feelings between the locals and the weekend city people.”
    Annabella Sciorra, well known for her roles on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “The Sopranos,” and Bill Camp, who just finished a Broadway run in “Death of a Salesman,” play the parents. An up-and-coming actor named Philip Ettinger plays the role of the teenage son, and Paula Garces, a film and television actor, plays the maid.
    “At the end of the movie, when all of the elements have lined up, it all ends up on the front page of The East Hampton Star,” Ms. Hall said.
    “The East Hampton Star is part of the community there,” Mr. Walker said. “We tried to use things that were unique to the area, like WLNG or the Lobster Inn sign that everyone passes on the way out there.”
    “The movie is about power and the truth, and how do you know if your truth is really the truth?” continued Ms. Hall. “It makes you think about what kind of lengths will you go to protect your child.”
    Mr. Walker — whose first short film, “Pie Eater,” made its debut at the Hamptons International Film Festival in 1994 — and Ms. Hall’s film  “Price Check” had its premiere earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. A comedy, “Price Check” stars Parker Posey, who hosted this year’s Sundance awards, and Eric Mabius, who has appeared in nearly 40 films and television projects. “Price Check” will be released this fall by IFC Films.
    Mr. Walker and Ms. Hall hope “A Maid’s Room” will have its debut at Sundance in January.