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Winners Announced For 2015 California On Location Awards

The team from “Straight Outta Compton” receive their awards for Studio Feature Film Location Team of the Year.

The stage at the Beverly Hilton hotel was buoyant with brass players and drummers. There upbeat salsa rhythms filled the air as attendees packed the ballroom preparing to recognize the winners of the 2015 California On Location Awards, otherwise known as COLAs. Presented by FLICS: Film Liaisons of California State-wide, the COLAs are an annual event that recognizes outstanding achievement an individual and team location management, as well as public employees at the city, county, state and federal level.

Before masters of ceremonies Tony Denison (“The Closer”) and Geoff Stults (“Unforgettable”) kicked off the 21st annual event on Sunday, October 11, attendees watched a humorous clip featuring many of the evening’s nominated location managers. They sat under harsh light, being forcibly interrogated by actor Bailey Chase – soon to be seen in Jeremy Breslau’s film “The Chaplain.” After sharply being asked if they close down streets, nominee John Grant answered by singing show tunes, while Jordana Kronen responded with a mild flirtatious “Well maybe I did.”

“There’s something about location managers that I just can’t figure out,” said Chase’s frustrated agent at the close of the clip.

The crowd, giddy at seeing the nominees doing their best to tackle acting in the clip soon discovered what it was that made location managers “so hard to figure out.” Their ability to handle impossible circumstances and the intense pressure of deadlines and tight budgets was a fraction of what makes them such a unique breed. Allison Taylor, supervising location manager for “Straight Outta Compton” spoke of the pressures balancing the gangs on the street and the “rich gangsters – a breed onto themselves” that created unique situations for her and her team.

“We had to come out swinging every day. It was no joke,” said Taylor.

Dan Cooley spoke of the challenges of dealing with a major accident that occurred in front of shooting location moments before the shot was sent to film. “You never expect things like that to happen. You just have to know what to do when they do,” said Cooley.

After receiving the award for outstanding location manager for an independent feature, Cooley shared his excitement for events such as the COLAs that recognize the work location managers do. “I was a location manager for years in New York and we never had anything like this.” He further joked that his nomination made his New York friends “jealous” prompting responses from one who said ”..we get paid with Sundays off.”

After receiving her award for outstanding federal employee of the year, Melinda Moses of the National Park Service joking stated, “At the National Parks we get paid in sunsets.” She was excited that the National Parks receive such high praise for the work they do with film, television on commercial productions. “We managing their demands while maintaining the delicate balance the US national parks require.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti presented the awards to the state, county and federal employees. Having had a crucial role in the increase of the California tax credit, he was pleased to announce the first round of green lit projects will bring roughly $387 million into the California economy.

“We’re happy to have our crewmembers working in their own backyards, sleeping in their own homes with their families, and spending their dollars in our local economies,” said Garcetti. “You are the backbone of this community.”

Chris Baugh,, who led the award-winning location team for outstanding studio feature film “Steve Jobs” thanked director Danny Boyle who remain true to his vision to shoot in California.

“Danny Boyle fought to keep the film in California,” said Baugh. “He had tremendous pressure to shoot in the UK, but he really wanted to use the outskirts of San Francisco. The $600,000 tax credit we got from the San Francisco film commission really help put as over-the-top.”

Below please find the complete list of the 2015 COLA winner:

LOCATION PROFESSIONALS
Commercials
Justin Besemer – Gymkhana 7, “Wild in the Streets of Los Angeles”

Half-Hour Television
Jason Kaplon – “The Brink”

One-Hour Television
Duffy Taylor – “State of Affairs”

Music Video
Chris Gutierrez – Run the Jewels, “Close Your Eyes”

Reality Television
Robin Kincade – “Gold Mountain”

Stills
Brenda Ferrell – “Brad Pitt for Details Magazine”

Independent Feature Film
Dan Cooley – “Sweet Life”

Studio Feature Film
Chris Baugh – “Steve Jobs”

LOCATION TEAMS
Commercials – Team for “Ford F150”
Donna Gross, Location Manager
Ross Day, Location Manager
Wendy Donovan, Location Manager
Alex Hamilton, Location Manager
Matt Prisk, Location Manager

Half-Hour Television – Team for “Fresh Off The Boat”
Kim Crabb, Location Manager
Stevie Nelson, KALM
Carole Segal, KALM

One Hour Television – Team for “True Dectective”
Michael Chickey, Location Manager
Caleb Duffy, Location Manager
Allison Cox – KALM
Darrin Cummings, KALM
Martin J. Cummins, KALM
Justin Duncan, KALM
Taylor Erickson, KALM.
Clay Valenti, KALM
Sophia Ochoa, ALM
Jenn Kennedy, ALM
Leeann Emmert, LS
Nancy Wong, LS
Kendra Leidel, Locations Office Coordinator
Caitlin McCarty, Massage Therapist
Honorable mention: Chris Baugh for pre-production scouting/development

Feature Film – Independent – Team for “Neon Demon”
Fermin Davalos, Location Manager
Will Ruvalcaba, KALM
Nathan Polatin, KALM
Mike Brewer, LS
Ellen Gessert, LS
Marie Healy, LS

Feature Films – Studio – Team for “Straight Outta Compton”
Alison Taylor, Supervising Location Manager
Craig Van Gundy, Co-Location Manager
Kokayi Ampah, Additional Location Manager
Elisa Ann Conant, KALM
Scott Fitzgerald, KALM
Karen Gilbert, KALM
Tisha Jefferson, KALM
Pedro Mata, KALM
Larry Ring, KALM
Kirk Worley, KALM
George Carrera, ALM
Hektor Larios, ALM
Sam Gomez, LS
Jeff Shepard, LS
Dorion Thomas, LS

PUBLIC EMPLOYEES OF THE YEAR
City
Eva Bitar, City of Los Angeles

County
Robert Malek, Imperial County Fire Department

State
Miguel Luevano – California Highway Patrol

Federal
Melinda Moses, National Park Services