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“Westworld”, “La La Land” Amongst Winners At 2017 LMGI Awards

By: Marjorie Galas

Location managers, film commissioners and other industry professionals were enthusiastically shuttled across the Warner Bros. lot on Saturday, April 8, 2017. The studio hosted the Fourth Annual Location Managers Guild International Awards, an evening were the achievements of those who supply and discover the vastly diverse settings seen in films, commercials and television series were feted.

Rico Gagliano, a radio personality and host of Dinner Party Download, kicked off the event by defending his knowledge of the production universe. Gagliano was a graduate of AFI and held a number of production titles before turning to public radio. Jokingly heralding location managers for finding a jungle island full of dinosaurs for “Jurassic World” and a “galaxy far, far away and in the past” for “Rouge One: A Star Wars Story”, Gagliano saved his best zinger for the locations in “La La Land.”

“They had to find a café on the Warner Bros. lot, which is literally 100ft away from where we are standing,” said Gagliano. “I bet every location manager in this room wished they had that gig.”

This year’s recipient of the Eva Monley Award – an award given to an industry-related professional who embraces the work of location professionals – was Danny Boyle. The director of films including “28 Days Later”, “Slumdog Millionaire” and “127 Hours” is known for choosing practical locations over sets or VFX to incorporate emotional connections and energies from authentic sites.  Unable to attend the event, production designer Guy Hendrix Days, Boyle’s production designer on “Steve Jobs” received the award in his place.  Boyle sent a video message to the event, both extending his delight in being recognized and respect for the industry.

“You are the building blocks of movies,” said Boyle. “There is nothing like the expressive power of real locations.  It is as fundamental as moving from black and white to color.”

Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Stuart Raven Barter recalled the location managers he worked with in the 70s, when he began his career as a director on low budget indies.

“Production coordinators handled the locations, and unemployed family members did the scouting,” said Barter.

During the 80s he befriended Tony and Ridley Scott, and began working as a location manager for them on their early commercials. As they evolved, he continued to work with them and other directors.  Films including “Thelma & Louise”, “Matchstick Men” and “Transformers” line his resume.

“I’ve been very lucky throughout my career. This award is my greatest achievement,” said Barter.

Lori Balton was on hand to receive the evening’s Trailblazer Award. Bolton, who began her career in Boston, has worked on numerous films and television series over the years for directors including Steven Spielberg, Paul Thomas Anderson and Christopher Nolan.  She holds the distinction of being the first location manager to be accepted into the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

“I thank the Location Managers Guild International for making a profound difference (in the recognition of our profession) over the past 14 years,” said Balton. “Solidarity is a good thing. In our own way, we are all trailblazers.”

The winners of the 2017 Location Managers Guild Awards are:

OUTSTANDING LOCATIONS IN A PERIOD TELEVISION SERIES ***TIE*** 

The Crown – Pat Karam, Robert Bentley/LMGI

Westworld – Mandi Dillin/LMGI

OUTSTANDING LOCATIONS IN A CONTEMPORARY TELEVISION SERIES

The Night Manager – Tom Howard, Daniel Sampedro Palerm

OUTSTANDING FILM COMMISSION 

Royal Film Commission of Jordan – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

OUTSTANDING LOCATIONS IN A COMMERCIAL

***TIE***

Bulbs” (Macbook Pro) – David Doumeng/LMGI, Charlie Love/LMGI

This Land is Your Land” (Johnnie Walker) – JJ Levine/LMGI, Will Brewster/LMGI, Patrick Burn, Dana Hanby

OUTSTANDING LOCATIONS IN A PERIOD FILM 

Hidden Figures – Wes Hagan/LMGI, Dan Gorman/LMGI

OUTSTANDING LOCATIONS IN A CONTEMPORARY FILM 

La La Land – Robert Foulkes/LMGI, Steve Beimler/LMGI