Local News

Tuesday, Sep 18 2012 08:35 AM

Tehachapi City Manager named as finalist in film group awards

Tehachapi City Manager Greg Garrett has been recognized by an association that works with the film industry.

Finalists for the 18th annual "California On Location Awards" were announced recently by Film Liaisons In California Statewide (FLICS).

In addition to Garrett, nominees for the location industry's highest honor are two other public employees from Kern County -- Kern County Fire Department Captain Tony Martinez and Bureau of Land Management Realty Specialist Elaine Hanson.

The "California On-Location Awards" are recognized throughout the film and television production industry as the premier live awards ceremony saluting location professionals and production companies. Awards are given for excellence while working on location in California. Public employees are recognized for delivering outstanding service and on-location support to the industry. Awards in 14 categories will be presented.

"It's an honor to be recognized," said Garrett. "Filming brings a great economic benefit to Kern County. We're focused on making our area as film-friendly as possible."

Garrett led efforts to accommodate a television commercial for the roll-out of Dodge's 2013 vehicle line. Less than a week prior to filming a previous location was scratched. Working with the Kern County Film Commission, the production company targeted Tehachapi as a replacement. Garrett rallied local resources, requesting a special meeting of the city council and teaming with the Film Commission, Kern County Fire Department, Tehachapi Public Works and Tehachapi Police to bring the massive project (120 crew members, 315 actors and 400 cars) to the mountain community.

Unfortunately, the commercial was never aired.

Greg Garrett is nominated for FLIC's City Employee of the Year along with Gabriel Martinez, Los Angeles Police Department and Caroline Weigand, City of Half Moon Bay.

"I'm honored by the nomination," said Fire Capt. Tony Martinez, who was notified of the honor by the Kern County Film Commission while on fire duty in Northern California that he was nominated for County Employee of the Year.

"The Fire Department has tried very hard to make Kern County a good working environment," Martinez said, recognizing the efforts of the entire KCFD team, particularly Engineer Leland Davis, for helping to make Kern County an attractive destination for film.

Martinez was recognized for his overall proactive attitude but drew special praise for his work on the reality show "Stars Earn Stripes." The star-studded competition included pyrotechnics, gunfire and helicopters in dry summer conditions during a shoot at Tejon Ranch. Martinez was instrumental in promptly assessing the project and processing the necessary permissions while ensuring the safety of the 130-member cast and crew.

Hanson serves as the Ridgecrest-based permit specialist for many federal properties popular with the film industry including Jawbone Canyon, the Trona Pinnacles and assorted dry lake beds was nominated in the Federal Employee of the Year category.

While on duty during a production last February, Hanson suffered a broken leg in a fall. Despite the injury and lengthy rehabilitation, she retained her permitting duties. Film projects that might have been delayed or lost to other locations were allowed to continue.

"Elaine has gone beyond the call of duty more than once," said Ridgecrest Regional Film Commissioner Doug Lueck. "BLM works very closely with film clients try to accommodate their needs. Elaine is a tireless worker and a true asset."

"We're extremely proud of all of the nominees" said Kern County Film Commissioner Dave Hook, who recently stepped down after three terms on FLICS' Board of Directors. "Kern County is a major player in the film industry, and the quality of service given by our public employees is a big reason why. Film crews go where they're wanted. Kern County has an incredible team focused on one goal, making the region as attractive as possible so that the economic benefits of filming come here."

The 2012 California On Location Awards will be presented during a gala affair at the historic Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena on Oct. 28.

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