After reviewing a correspondence sent from Futuristic Films, Aquinnah selectmen agreed to allow filming of a three-minute Volvo commercial in Menemsha Village and on Lobsterville and West Basin roads.
The short film will include driving shots and “lifestyle shots” of a couple who are touring Massachusetts. Driving shots will require a police detail to hold traffic intermittently during the four to five driving takes, and then release traffic between takes.
For the driving shots, Futuristic Films will use “either a drone or helicopter, depending on the wind,” according to the letter.
“Either a helicopter or a drone — that’s a huge difference,” chairman Gary Haley said. “I guess we’ll have to see what the weather is like.”
Selectman Julianne Vanderhoop mentioned the issue of noise pollution in the case of a helicopter being used for aerial footage. “If they are using a helicopter, how long will it be there for?”
The letter did not specify the dates or times of the filming, but stated, “We will be filming approximately five to six days, starting the 7th or 8th of September, and start in Boston.”
According to the letter, about 50 crew and two actors will be on Lobsterville and West Basin roads for approximately an hour, and in Menemsha Village for “another hour or two.”
Jeffrey Madison, Aquinnah town administrator, said he wanted to bring the letter to the selectmen’s attention, but also noted that further approval from Aquinnah Police Chief Randhi Belain would be required. “It’s quite a production that they talk about doing here,” Madison said.
“We need the chief of police to weigh in on this to make sure what they are proposing is appropriate.”
Belain said the film company needs to narrow its timeframe down in order for Aquinnah Police to assess whether the request is reasonable.
“Once they narrow it down, I’m sure that we can make it work,” Belain said.
Aquinnah Police Sgt. Paul Manning asked the selectmen if the town had any permit fees specific to this request.
Madison said he has asked Futuristic Films to make an appropriate donation, but the town does not have a permitting requirement.
“They could give us the car,” selectman Jim Newman joked.
In other business, selectmen approved a memo regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), requiring town employees and employers to reach an agreement before any extra time may be credited as compensatory time.
The memo will be sent to all Aquinnah department heads or boards with town employees, and will require a list of any employees with accrued compensatory time, along with documentation of any agreements made.
In some cases, compensatory time is accrued by employees who request that extra hours worked (holidays and overtime) be used for paid time off, instead of receiving overtime pay of one and a half times their regular wages. “The town administrator and selectmen will review this practice and formulate guidelines for everyone to follow, so as not to unknowingly expose the town to liability and penalties,” according to the memo.