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California On Location Awards Marks 18th Year

By: Richard McMillan | October 23, 2012

California On Location Awards Marks 18th Year

What started 18 years ago with the seed of a singular idea for an awards event became a pivotal moment and sparked a movement to focus long needed recognition on the previously unsung world of film and television location professionals who play a vital role in the production industry.

From that one idea from the vision of Sheri Davis, director of the Inland Empire Film Commission, grew the California On Location Awards (COLA), a premier awards program saluting location managers and production companies for exemplary professional excellence while filming on location In California. In addition federal, state and local public employees are recognized for their valuable services in going above and beyond to facilitate filming in their jurisdictions.

The tradition of the COLA program recognizing and supporting excellence continues on Sunday, October 28 as the 18th annual COLA reception and ceremony is hosted by the Huntington-Langham of Pasadena amid the grace and elegance reminiscent of the Golden Age of Hollywood captured by that historic hotel. There over 500 entertainment industry executives, producers, directors, location managers and other production professionals will gather along with community leaders to celebrate this state's signature industry and salute the location professionals who help make it work. Popular veteran actor Lorenzo Lamas will guide the show as master of ceremonies.

COLA is the signature and flagship annual event of the Film Liaisons In California Statewide (FLICS), a non-profit organization focused on promoting and supporting California's film and television production industry. The FLICS membership consists of regional film commissions throughout the state.

As production professionals themselves, the staff of FLICS member film offices offers local expertise in partnership with production companies and location managers to assist with filming resources and location support.

This year's awards will be presented to location professionals in nine diverse categories for outstanding professional performance. Four public employees from the city, county, state and federal governmental sectors across California will also be singled out for excelling in their service to various production projects. On stage presenting the public employee awards will be State Senator, Ron Calderon, Senate District 30, and State Assembly Member Felipe Fuentes, 39th Assembly District. These two legislators authored the respective bills in the Senate and Assembly which extended the California film and T.V. production financial incentive package that was recently signed by Governor Jerry Brown which is aimed at retaining more of the state's entertainment production business and the employment that industry represents.

COLA is a year-long effort under the organizational guidance of Chair Emeritus Sheri Davis and the three co-chairs Janice Arrington, director of the Orange County Film Commission, Paul Audley, president of FilmL.A., the film permitting coordinating office for the city and county of Los Angeles and Pauline East, director of the Antelope Valley Film Commission. They are assisted by FLICS members and numerous volunteers with financial support from industry organizations, the major studios, production companies and businesses. Awards show technical support is provided by John Brown and The Show Pros and directed by Rajan Shandil, veteran show director and producer.

These dedicated professionals have brought COLA a long way since its inception. From humble beginnings in a muddy field because the sprinklers were left on, high profile venues now compete to host one of the most prestigious Hollywood award shows that has earned wide recognition and credibility around the world as a hallmark event.

While it is eagerly anticipated each year as a dynamic show and social occasion, the real purpose behind COLA is to salute those California location managers who play a pivotal role in bringing together creative vision and practical logistics to bring to life the motion pictures and television projects seen on screens around the world.

In addition to the important creative side of researching, scouting and providing filming locations that advance the vision of the director and production designer, a location manager's job is not unlike that of a military general. They deal with countless details and logistics in moving an army of production professionals from one location to the other with smart tactics and diplomatic skill. They are also the ambassadors of the film industry as they are constantly engaged with the public. The number of details involved and diverse skills employed can be elephantine and would likely humble Hannibal. One location manager compared the job to that of "a hemophiliac working in a razor factory," due to the amount of details to which close attention must be paid.

The work has become more difficult and complex with a growing level of responsibility that touches every department of a production. With the location filming environment constantly changing the responsibilities of location managers continue to increase. Much of that hard work is seamless and invisible to the crew when they arrive on location to find a smooth road for the day with no speed bumps. Most are unaware of the long hours of diligent preparation and professional skills it took to make it that way.

Advancing awareness and recognition within the entertainment industry and among the public of the important contributions by location professionals is the goal of the California On Location Awards. When Sheri Davis was asked why she, the three co-chairs, the FLICS organization and many others put in countless unpaid hours to perpetuate COLA for the benefit of location managers she said simply, "What location professionals bring to our state's signature industry makes them more than worth it. Proper recognition of these true super heroes of Hollywood is long overdue."

The following direct web site links are provided for background information and further details regarding the California On Location Awards (COLA) and the Film Liaisons In California Statewide FLICS).

2012 COLA finalists in each category:

COLA nomination procedures:

COLA judging procedure:

COLA history

2012 COLA Sponsors:

Film Liaisons In California

For further information please contact the following:
Sheri Davis, COLA Chair Emeritus
Director Inland Empire Film Commission
(951) 377-7849 Cell # Email:

Richard McMillan
McMillan Production Services
Telephone: 310-754-9250
Director of Media Relations
Film Liaisons In California Statewide (FLICS)

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