The second time might be just the charm that movie producer Jack Heller is looking for when it comes to filming on the East End.
Returning to the Hamptons to work on his second feature film, “Refuge,” Mr. Heller, who lives primarily in Los Angeles now but has been a summer Southampton resident since he was a child, said during shooting on Pine Street in Southampton Village last Friday that returning to film on location here has been a dream.
“I love coming out here to shoot, especially right now in the off-season when everything is available. You have everything here,” he said. “And the cooperation with the village, especially Eileen at the clerk’s office—make sure to say that because they have been amazing—and all the places here has been nothing but fantastic.”
Now working as a producer on “Refuge,” along with his Caliber Media Co. partner Dallas Sonnier, Mr. Heller’s foray into features occurred last year when he directed the low-budget thriller “Enter Nowhere,” filmed entirely on the East End.
“Refuge,” starring Krysten Ritter from the television series “Breaking Bad,” Brian Geraghty from the film “The Hurt Locker,” Logan Huffman from the television show “V” and Madeleine Martin from the television show “Californication,” a low-budget romantic drama, took just 17 days to shoot and wrapped on Sunday. The movie, which is about young woman who must take care of her younger siblings after their parents abandon them, was adapted by Jessica Goldberg from her play of the same name. She is the director of the film as well.
Mr. Heller said that he has been itching to return to film on the East End since shooting wrapped on “Enter Nowhere” last April. Locations for “Refuge” included exterior scenes on Pine Street, a house on Wooley Street, a construction site, Fellingham’s, the Southampton Princess Diner, Blue Collar Bar and Catena’s Market.
Mr. Heller is no stranger to Catena’s, or its owner Vic Finalborgo, with whom he developed a friendship during the filming of “Enter Nowhere.” In fact, the two became so close that Mr. Heller dedicated that film to Mr. Finalborgo. This time around, Mr. Finalborgo has fed and housed the film actors and crew, provided a makeshift dressing area/makeup room at his cottage on Wooley Street and allowed them to film at his market as well.
“Vic’s name is like gold,” Mr. Heller said. “He’s the greatest.”
The feeling is mutual, according to Mr. Finalborgo, who said that Mr. Heller and his cast and crew are prime examples of what is good in this world.
“They are the nicest bunch of young people I’ve ever met,” he said. “I feel like they are like my own kids, just a really sweet bunch.” Mr. Finalborgo’s generosity (he has also allowed the crew to shoot at Catena’s for free) has been a boon to Mr. Heller, who reported the movie’s budget is definitely on the low end of the scale.
“Craft services for bigger pictures is more than our budget,” he laughed.
But he stressed that the film’s crew and actors have also contributed to the local economy where they’ve been able: eating at local restaurants, shopping at local stores, even working out at local gyms.
“It’s nice to be able to contribute to the economy, especially at this time of the year,” Mr. Heller said.
Mr. Geraghty, whose character plays the love interest of Ms. Ritter’s character, said during a break in filming on Friday that he’s definitely in love with the East End.
“It’s been really incredible, it’s a terrific place to shoot a movie,” he said, adding that he and his cast mates have been trying to take advantage of everything that the East End has to offer. “This morning I ran to the beach and the other day Krysten and I went to the lighthouse in Montauk. Plus, we’ve been to Red Bar, The Golden Pear—get the tuna wrap—and of course, Catena’s. Vic’s awesome!”
As for Mr. Heller, he said that he will continue to look for more projects to film on the East End, especially during the off-season.
“Next I want to find something to do in the fall,” he said, adding that in addition to all the great things he has experienced by filming here, and the welcoming feeling that he has gotten from the locals, there is one big bonus that is unique only to the Hamptons. “This is the best sunset in the world, I have to film that.”