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COLA Awards honor behind-the-scenes work of location pros and public officials

Location managers who worked on “Behind the Candelabra,” “The Hangover Part III,” “CSI: NY” and “Sandal” shared top honors at the 2013 California On Location Awards on Sunday, Nov. 3, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

The COLA’s, organized by Film Liaisons in California Statewide (FLICS), a group that promotes in-state filmmaking, honor location professionals and public officials who facilitate on-location production in the Golden State.

Location manager Gregory Alpert won in the studio features category for the third “Hangover” installment, which returned California for many scenes after “Part II” had gone to Thailand.

Caleb Duffy, location manager on HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra,” won in the independent feature film category for the HBO’s movie, much of which was shot in Los Angeles and Palm Springs.

The prize for episodic television went to location manager Timothy Hillman for “CSI: NY,” which is primarily filmed in Los Angeles despite its name, and Veronique Vowell won for her work as location manager on “Scandal,” another show produced in L.A. that’s set in an Eastern City – in this case Washington, DC.

Location managers John Grant and David Doumeng won, respectively, in the reality TV category for “Face Off” and in the commercials category for a Nike spot.

The location team of the year for studio feature award went to crew that worked on Warner Bros.’ “Transcendence”: location manager Chris Baugh; key assistant location managers Mike Betz, Justin Duncan; Jeanie Farman; Leo A. Fialho, Justin Harrold, Ryan Neary and Keomanee Villaythong; and location scout Lori Balton.

In the independent feature category, team honors went to location managers Matthew Ruitta and Debra A. Wilson from “Fruitvale Station.”

The location pros on CBS’s “NCIS” copped the team prize in the TV episodic body-of-work category: supervising location manager Jim McClafferty; location manager Joel Sinderman; and key assistant location managers Emily Esses, Darrin Lipscomb and Damon Rivetti.

And in the TV episodic single or season category, team honors went to “The Bridge.” Taking home the prize: location manager Ralph Coleman; key assistant location managers Jorge Luis Alvarez, Diana Lara and Steven Lee; and assistant location managers Douglas Burke, Phil Oglesby and Eddie Santillan.

Pilgrim Studios was named production company of the year/reality television for “Top Hooker,” with Jill Naumann as location manager.

Several public employees were also honored for their work in facilitating California film production.

In the city category the prize went to L. Turvey, M. Hernandez and G. Martinez of the LAPD Contract Services Section.

Christina Ramos of the L.A. County Fire Department won in the county category. In the state category, Roger San Juan of Caltrans took the honor. And Donna McMullen of the Bureau of Land Management won in the federal category.

Teamsters Local 399, the union representing location managers, bestowed its lifetime achievement award on Geoffrey Smith, who worked as location manager for three decades on such projects as “Knot’s Landing” and “American Pie,” before moving on to work at permitting org Film L.A. He recently retired and set off on a motorcycling trip around North America, which he cut short to return to Los Angeles for the award.

Actor Perry King (“Melrose Place,” “The Day After Tomorrow”) served as emcee of the proceedings.

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