Location Pros for ‘Straight Outta Compton,’ ‘Steve Jobs’ and ‘True Detective’ Are Among COLA winners

California On Location Awards honor location managers and public employees who facilitate film and TV production

Straight Outta Compton
Courtesy of Universal

The California on Location Awards (COLA) distributed honors at the Beverly Hilton hotel on Sunday, recognizing outstanding location work on Universal’s “Straight Outta Compton” (pictured), the second season of HBO’s “True Detective,” ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat” Nicolas Winding Refn’s indie film “Neon Demon,” among other projects.

The ceremony, attended by over 500 industry execs, creatives, production professionals — as well as an assortment of public employees connected to fimmaking, marked COLA’s 21st edition.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti presented the awards in the public employees category. He commended California Gov. Jerry Brown’s support for the film industry in California, noting that Brown signed last year’s film and television tax incentive bill, which more than tripled the amount of money California offers annually in tax breaks from $100 million to $330 million, despite his penchant for vetoing tax breaks for other interest groups.

Other presenters included production designer Nelson Coates and TV host Ms. Stuart Brazell. Actor Tony Denison (“The Closer”) served as MC. He was joined by actor Geoff Stults (“Wedding Crashers”).

The complete list of honorees:


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”

Brenda Ferrell – “Brad Pitt for Details Magazine”

Independent Feature Film
Dan Cooley – “Sweet Life”

Studio Feature Film
Chris Baugh – “Steve Jobs


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 Liedle, 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


Eva Bitar, City of Los Angeles

Robert Malek, Imperial County Fire Department

Miguel Luevano – California Highway Patrol

Melinda Moses, National Park Services


Dorion Thomas, “NCIS LA”

Hektor Larios, “Straight Outta Compton”

For over two decades COLA has recognized location managers, assistant location managers, location scouts and location teams in various content genres – as well as public employees – for their work in facilitating location filming.

“The work of location managers is highly complex with an advanced level of responsibility that touches every production department,” said Shari Davis, who was exec director of the Inland Empire Film Commission when she helped conceive the COLA program two decades ago. “They are the backbone of the film industry, the public face of production and ambassadors of the studios when filming on location.”

“Over the last 21 years, the California On Location Awards has become one of the premier events to recognize key behind the scenes talent in film, television and commercial production,” said Amy Lemisch, executive director of the California Film Commission.

COLA is a production of the Film Liaisons In California Statewide (FLICS), a nonprofit corporation with membership composed of over 40 film commissions throughout the Golden state. Each individual film office associated with the FLICS partners with location managers and production companies to provide local expertise in location and production support.

“To foster economic development, FLICS works to attract, retain and facilitate filming, and serve as the bridge between local communities and production companies,” said Janice Arrington, FLICS president and Orange County film commissioner.