Kirby Marcantonio, the publisher of the free weeklies Montauk Life and Hamptons Life, made a pitch at an East Hampton Town Board meeting in Montauk on Feb. 12 for free outdoor movies in Montauk this summer. Suggesting that the Hank Zebrowski Memorial Field on Edgemere Road, a public park, be used and that local organizations could sell refreshments to raise funds, he received a favorable response.
His idea is to show films on two nights in July and two in August on the open, town-owned field where craft fairs and similar events are held. Charitable organizations, such as Boy Scouts, the Playhouse Community Center, and the proposed Montauk Indian Museum would be able to sell snacks, hot dogs, popcorn, and drinks, while raising awareness of their work, Mr. Marcantonio said.
“People who come for free are free to spend money on other things, like food and beverages,” he told the board. They would take their own blankets or chairs for seating. He also pointed out at the meeting that the Montauk Movie, which is for rent, might be closing.
In a subsequent interview, Mr. Marcantonio said he would ask local businesses to sponsor the project to provide money for advertising, licensing fees, a brochure, and renting movie equipment. He mentioned that a commercial operation would handle the technical process.
Although apparently receptive to the project, the town board has not said how much it might charge to rent the field. Mr. Marcantonio said he had spoken with a town fire marshal and a town Parks and Recreation Department official, who, he said, seemed amenable to the idea.
The movies would be geared toward families, he said, adding, however, that he had found it a bit more difficult than expected to lease movies. Some firms limit when and where their films may be shown, he said, noting that Pixar, for example, will only allow their films to be shown indoors.
At the meeting in February, the board seemed pleased with the plan, with the only concern that others might want to use the field for business ventures. East Hampton Town Councilwoman Theresa Quigley, however, said she found the idea “lovely.” She asked the town attorney, John Jilnicki, to look into the legal requirements.
“There’s a certain amount of bells and whistles, but it’s certainly not like I’m proposing a music festival,” he said.