Over 500 entertainment industry professionals were in attendance to enjoy a gorgeous outdoor reception with a live band and delicious hors d’oeuvres. Once inside, guests were delighted to find an elaborate candy bar that included everything from freshly popped popcorn to decadent cream-filled finger cakes. Host Lorenzo Lamas charmed the crowd with his tasteful humor during the ceremony, and the first award of the evening went to Caleb Duffy as this year’s Independent Features Location Manager for his work on “Hitchcock.” Duffy received the same prestigious award last year.
Four Location Professional of the Year Awards were presented to location managers for their outstanding work in TV commercials, episodic TV, studio feature films and independent features. These winners include Scott Allen Logan, whose work on the commercial “Gymkhana 5” involved precision high-speed driving in San Francisco, and Gregory Alpert, who won for his work on the HBO drama series “Luck.” “The location manager is only as good as his or her team, a big thank you to my team,” said Alpert during the ceremony. “Sheri Davis, I dedicate this award to you tonight, this being your last COLA Awards, you have forever left your mark on the legacy of elevating the profile of location professionals everywhere, of what we do, what we pull off, the magic we pull off and all the work we do behind the scenes that before there were the COLAs went unnoticed. We owe you a debt of gratitude, one that can never be paid back.” Sheri Davis, who’s currently the director of the Inland Empire Film Commission, is considered to be the Godmother of the COLAs, as she nurtured the awards and turned it into an elegant event that brings well-deserved recognition to professional location managers and their teams.
The COLAs’ Studios Feature Award went to Location Manager Chris Baugh for his work on the Warner Bros. film Argo, about the CIA extraction of American diplomatic personnel out of Iran during a revolution. Baugh thanked FilmL.A. and FLICs for recognizing the craft of location managing, adding that he wouldn’t have won without the assistance of his “hardworking” team. “I appreciate all the sacrifices you made to get me up here and get this movie made,” he said.
Assistant location managers also make vital contributions to the process of on-location filming. The award for Assistant Location Manager of the Year in episodic TV went to Eva Schroeder for her work on the Lifetime series “The Client List.” “There are pages of me saying thank you to everybody who’s ever taken the time and taught me to keep accounting and [transportation] as my best friend, because they’ll bury you if you don’t,” said Schroeder during her win. Keomanee Vilaythong took home the Assistant Location Manager of the Year Award for her work on the Warner Bros. feature The Dark Knight Rises. Vilaythong thanked her team, FilmL.A. and the leadership of Location Managers Ilt Jones and J.J. Hook, and said, “Everyone on that team inspires me because they love their job and they’re so talented at doing it.”
The Location Team of the Year Award in episodic TV went to Associate Producer Michael Haro and Location Manager Alison Taylor for the Warner Bros./John Wells production of “Southland: Sunset.” The Location Team of the Year for independent features was presented to the location department of Dogwood Pictures’ Knight of Cups, led by Location Managers David Lyons and Kei Rowan-Young, and the Location Team of the Year Award for a studio feature film was given to the location department of Paramount Pictures’ upcoming sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, headed by Supervising Location Manager Becky Brake. While receiving the award, the Star Trek location team humorously noted that they can’t talk about locations or thank anyone because of all the secrecy surrounding the production. And in recognition of exhibiting the highest professional standards while filming in California’s communities, the Production Company of the Year Award went to CBS Productions for the reality TV series “The Amazing Race,” with Deven Chierghino as location manager.
Government officials and employees were also recognized at the COLAs, as awards were presented for Public Employees of the Year in city, county, state and federal categories. Tehachapi City Manager Greg Garrett won the City Employee Award while the County Employee Award went to Tony Martinez of the Kern County Fire Department. The COLA for State Employee was awarded to John O’Rourke of Humbolt-Redwood State Park, and Guy Langham of the United States Coast Guard was named Federal Employee of the Year. These awards were presented by State Senator Ron Calderon of Senate District 30 and State Assembly Member Felipe Fuentes of the 39th Assembly District. The two legislators authored the bills in the Senate and Assembly that extended the California film and TV production financial incentive package recently signed by Governor Jerry Brown. The incentive is aimed at retaining more of the state’s entertainment production business and industry employment.
The celebratory evening included Amy Lemisch, director of the California Film Commission (CFC), who recognized CFC Deputy Director Jim Fitzpatrick for his many years of entertainment industry service. Recognition was also paid to COLAs Producer/Director Rajan Shandil for his work over the last 14 years and to John Brown of the live-show production company The Show Pros, whose creative and technical production expertise has benefited the COLAs for 13 years. Congratulations to all of this year’s COLAs nominees and winners for a job well done!