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Monday, 26 July 2010 00:00

A COLA Tribute to Sheri Davis

Written by  James Thompson
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SherriDavisStory_IMG_0177Location management and location scouting are difficult production jobs that don’t often receive much recognition. That is, until the California On Location Awards (COLA) surfaced to acknowledge location professionals for their best efforts. This yearly event has grown into a large-scale acknowledgement of location professionals working in the state of California. The visionary behind COLA is Sheri Davis, the film commissioner for the Inland Empire, and she has been steering the program since its inception 16 years ago.

“I so value the location professionals, the teams, the managers, and the scouts,” says Davis. “I value their contributions to my office and to filming in the Inland Empire and the state of California.” The feeling is mutual. During the recent 2010 COLAs, Davis received a standing ovation, and just the mention of her name to anyone involved with filming in California generates an immediate positive response. Davis is a rare person who is universally appreciated by everyone who knows her. “Without the likes of Sheri the lack of recognition of location professionals would be endemic to the film and television industry,” says Peter Sands, location manager for the hit Fox show “Glee.” “We continue to owe Sheri a debt of gratitude as location managers and scouts are increasingly recognized for their value and integral place in film and television production.” Location Manager Kathy McCurdy (Star Trek) agrees. “Sheri Davis continues to be an incredible asset to the entire locations community in California and beyond by her tireless support of location scouts and managers and the filming process,” says McCurdy, a COLA winner. “She is always professional, always doing everything in her power to make it happen [with] whatever crazy situation we present her with –– and beyond that she has a huge heart and is the resident den mother to all of us, no matter what age we are.”

Location Manager Richard McMillan has had a long working relationship with Davis who has been extremely effective in obtaining permission from difficult city officials throughout the year. After hearing “no, you can’t do it” by an official, McMillan saw the same official completely change their position after speaking with Davis. “Under Sheri’s leadership, filming in the Inland Empire is like a hot knife going through warm butter,” says McMillan. Melissa DeMonaco-Tapia of the Fairplex in Pomona praised Davis’s efforts in the recent movement to expand the 30-mile studio zone. “Sheri was instrumental in working with the Teamsters to get the zone pushed back,” says DeMonaco-Tapia. The work done by DeMonaco-Tapia and Davis and their commitment to the entertainment industry are giving filmmakers more filming possibilities.

It was recently announced that Davis is stepping down as COLA’s co-chair to pass the torch to Paul Audley of FilmL.A. Audley will work with current COLA Co-Chairs Janice Arrington and Pauline East. Yet, despite the announcement, Davis says that she still plans to be involved with COLA and she’s optimistic that COLA will be around for a long time, indicating that FilmL.A. will give the program the resources needed to take it to the next level. “I’m excited because when you start something, you want it to succeed,” says Davis. “I’m going to stay involved. I’m not planning to go away for a while.”

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