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Location Managers for Wild and The Grand Budapest Hotel Win Top Film Prizes at LMGA Awards

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Kokayi Ampah, LMGA lifetime achievement award winner. (Photos by Craig T. Matthew/MatthewImaging)
Kokayi Ampah, LMGA lifetime achievement award winner. (Photos by Craig T. Matthew/MatthewImaging)

Location managers for the motion pictures Wild and The Grand Budapest Hotel took top honors in the contemporary and period film categories, respectively, at the second annual Location Managers Guild of America awards ceremony held Saturday night at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills.

Prizes for outstanding locations in a contemporary and period television series went to the managers who discovered and procured the settings for True Detective and Boardwalk Empire.

The LMGA awards, designed to honor the canny and creative skills of location managers who come up with the settings that are essential to the look of movies and TV shows, took place in conjunction with the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) three-day trade show that ran from Thursday to Saturday in nearby Century City. The annual gathering consists of representatives of nearly 200 film commissions from around the country and around the world eager to attract shoots to their locales.

LMGA president Nancy Haecker opened the ceremony and then tossed the hosting duties to location manager David Doumeng. His dry wit and insider jokes kept the audience amused. Polished entertainment was provided by members of the Troubadour Theater Company who sang and danced their way through production numbers from West Side Story with lyrics cleverly altered to describe the toils and tribulations of location managers.

The Grand Budapest Hotel winner, Klaus Darrelmann
The Grand Budapest Hotel winner, Klaus Darrelmann

Three honorary awards were also handed out. Debbie Allen (Grey’s Anatomy) and Ted Lange (The Love Boat) presented the lifetime achievement award to veteran Kokayi Ampah, one of the first African-Americans to become a location manager. Over three decades, he has collaborated with many top directors, most notably Steven Spielberg on Amistad and The Color Purple and Clint Eastwood on six of his films including Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River. He is known for making the locations became characters in the films he’s involved with.

Alfre Woodard (State of Affairs) presented the humanitarian award to film producer Caroline Baron, who founded FilmAid International. Through FilmAid, started in 1999, Baron has created educational films to promote awareness of social issues such as HIV/Aids, women’s rights, pediatric malnutrition, land mine awareness and conflict resolution. She has also brought the pleasures of cinema to people in refugee camps around the globe to bring some joy into their lives and alleviate their many privations.

Location Scout Marino Pascal, the creator of Locolist, a computerized database for location managers, received the trailblazer award. It was presented by Steve Dayan, secretary/treasurer of Teamsters Local 399. Locolist has become essential in allowing location professionals to network and share information.

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Boardwalk Empire winners Amanda Burbank and Audra Gorman.

In other competitive categories:

The prize for outstanding film commission was awarded to the City of Long Beach Office of Special Events and Filming. The city recently hosted the shoot for CSI Los Angeles and was the location for many years for CSI Miami.

The award for best locations for a commercial campaign went to Ram Trucks and to Coca-Cola for a single commercial, “America is Beautiful.” Location manager Peter Orth was on the winning team for both, and hauled in two prizes.

Other double dippers included Fox Searchlight, behind both of the winning films. Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon, was mainly filmed in Oregon, utilizing the state’s natural beauty to tell the story of a woman on a 1,000 mile trek. The Grand Budapest Hotel was filmed in mid-winter in Görlitz, a perfectly preserved town in the far east of Germany near the Polish and Czech border.

And HBO, the premium cable service, was the backer of both of the television prize winners. True Detective was shot in Louisiana in and around New Orleans. And for Boardwalk Empire Atlantic City was recreated in Brooklyn while other New York City locations were also tapped.

The Troubador Theater Company
The Troubador Theater Company

The winners of the second annual Location Managers Guild of America awards are:

Outstanding Locations in a Contemporary Film
Wild (Nancy Haecker)

Outstanding Locations in a Period Film
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Klaus Darrelmann)

Outstanding Locations in a Contemporary Television Series
True Detective (Batou Chandler)

Outstanding Locations in a Period Television Series
Boardwalk Empire (Amanda Burbank and Audra Gorman)

Outstanding Locations in a Single Commercial
Coca-Cola “America is Beautiful” (Jimmy Ayoub, Cyndy McCrossen, Peter Orth, Stephen Pherigo)

Outstanding Locations in a Commercial Campaign
Ram Trucks (David McKinney and Peter Orth)

Outstanding Film Commission
City of Long Beach Office of Special Events and Filming

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