At a presentation on June 26 at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, the Location Managers Guild of America recognized 60 students of South Central LA’s Jefferson High School who participated in a project called “Last Looks: The Ambassador Hotel”—and gave awards to five of them. The competition called for the students to scout the old hotel as a location and to create storyboards that could be used by location managers. All 60 storyboards were on display.LMGA president Kayla Thames-Berge introduced the students and welcomed teacher and Jefferson High’s Academy of Film and Television program director Steve Bacharach, who thanked the LMGA for its involvement.The students were taught how location managers tackle their work. The LMGA members came to Jefferson High and gave classroom instruction on the process. Armed with storyboards, scripts and Fuji disposable cameras, the students covered the historic hotel from every conceivable angle and perspective.According to Bacharach, “I call the studio [executives] and ask for their help, and they tell me the same thing: The schools they pass on their way to work are the ones they donate money and time too, but we (Jefferson High) aren’t on anyone’s way to work. So the work for me has been uphill trying to get interest or funds for the program.”Then, out of the blue, Bacharach received a call from the LMGA, proposing a project with Jefferson High students to learn location-manager crafts, with the historic Ambassador as the venue.The student winners in the five categories are: Lorraine Fuentes, Gabi Rivas, Lakeysha Brown, Gerado Soto and Christina Varela. The judges included screenwriter/director Shane Black, production designers Aaron Osbourne, Missy Stewart and Jessica Kender, producer Alice West, AFI VP Dean Phillip Linson, DP Robert Brinkmann, AFI editor Lillian Benson, Teamster Local 399 business agent Steve Dayan and location managers Kristi Frankenheimer, Bill Bowling and Orin Kennedy.Added Bacharach during the awards: “It was poetry. The LMGA took a hotel the City of Los Angeles didn’t want and a school that the city didn’t want to help, and put them together to make something great”.
Written by April MacIntyre