Location Managers Guild International Awards Honor ‘The Last of Us,’ ‘John Wick: Chapter 4,’ and Steven Spielberg Virtually Accepts Eva Monley Award

“The Last of Us,” “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “John Wick: Chapter 4” were among the winners at the 10th annual Location Managers Guild International (LMGI) Awards which took place on Aug. 26 at the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica.

The awards honored the accomplishments of location managers and scouts who work to find the perfect settings for film and television. Special tribute awards were also given out, with Steven Spielberg virtually accepting the Eva Monley Award. The event was also a celebration of the organization’s 20th anniversary.

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LMGI president John Rakich began the evening by acknowledging the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

“I’m going to start tonight by addressing the elephant in the room,” said Rakich. “As most of our membership belongs to many labor organizations, we’d like it known that the LMGI supports the rights of collective bargaining and the efforts of all labor organizations around the world to achieve a fair and reasonable agreement for their members.”

“All the creative talent, artisans, craftspeople and workers who make film and television shows that drive our industry deserve the opportunity to earn a stable living… We hope a mutual resolution is soon reached on all these matters so that we can move forward,” he continued.

Feature films were recognized at the event for their impressive real-life settings. The “John Wick: Chapter 4” crew, including Simon Daniel, Pascal Ricoult, Antonin Depardieu, Ghaith Al-kurdi, Daisei Susami and Morgan Roche, were awarded with Outstanding Locations in a Contemporary Feature Film. The action film was shot around the world in Berlin, Paris, New York City, Japan and Jordan.

Petr Růčka, Marek Řídel and Jan Ondrovčák were honored with Outstanding Locations in a Period Feature Film for their work on the World War I period drama “All Quiet On the Western Front.” They filmed in the Czech Republic and Germany.

For Outstanding Locations in a Period Television Series, the team behind “1923” took home the award. D. Zachary Heine, Johan Van Der Walt, Joseph Formosa Randon, James Crowley, and Eduard Klarenbeek are responsible for the show’s sweeping Montana vistas. The series also took viewers to other parts of the world as they filmed in South Africa, Malta and Kenya.

HBO’s hit series “The Last of Us” won multiple awards for the work that went into finding Canadian regions that suited the show’s post-apocalyptic setting. Jason Nolan and Mohammad Qazzaz won the award for Outstanding Locations in a Contemporary Television Series, and the Alberta Film Commissions and Calgary Economic Development won Outstanding Film Commission.

HBO took home another prize when “The White Lotus” was honored with Outstanding Locations in a TV Serial Program, Anthology, MOW or Limited series. Season 2 of the series was known for taking place in gorgeous Sicilian locales.

Jón Ólafur Lindsay won the award for Outstanding Locations in a Commercial for his work on Icelandair Stopover “Easy to Stop, Hard to Leave,” which was shot in Iceland.

Industry titan Steven Spielberg virtually accepted the Eva Monley Award, which is “given to an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the art and craft of filmmaking through their commitment to the use of real locations.” Production designer Rick Carter, who worked on “Jurassic Park,” “Lincoln,” and “The Fabelmans” with the iconic director, presented him with the award.

Spielberg sent in a video acceptance speech to acknowledge the award, discussing how important locations are in the making of his films.

“Thank you everybody,” he began. “So the real moment when I realize I might actually be making the movie is the second I get into the van with the location manager and set out on a scout or a recce to see what they found. Before getting in the van I will have been provided with a ton of photos or videos, but that’s not the same thing as being out in the real world to find the real locations.”

“And for those of you who know me, the van needs to be stocked: water, trail mix, egg and tuna salad sandwiches and, of course, Cheetos. Lots of Cheetos.” he revealed, much to the enjoyment of the audience.

He continued to describe the process of the “recce,” an industry term derived from “reconnaissance.”

“Then in my lap, I’ll be holding a folder with my storyboard, which are the sketches of how I imagine those locations would look like. But the first time we stop to get out and look — even if it’s not the last stop — will often make me forget some of what I drew because the reality of making movies in the real world is always better than the world I try to imagine at home,” Spielberg continued.

He went onto praise the work of his fellow film industry professionals in the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, who are currently on strike.

“Now we all know these movies and TV shows take their first breath with the story, with the script. So thank you to my sisters and brothers from the Writers Guild of America and to the actors of SAG-AFTRA. Without them I’d be living in a van down by the river. And without all of you [working on locations], I’d be filming every single one of my locations on the Universal backlot.”

He continued to express his appreciation for the difficult and integral role that location managers and scouts play in the filmmaking process.

“This is nonstop work that you all do. And you could all work for the State Department — that’s the skillset this job requires. And my admiration for you throughout the 55 years I’ve been directing — and driving to tarnation and back in your cars — is limitless. Because you are limitless. So here’s to more years discovering those natural wonders together that make our stories live and breathe and change people’s lives as you have changed mine,” Spielberg said.

He concluded his speech by acknowledging that the namesake of the award, location scout Eva Monley, was both his collaborator and friend; he specifically brought up their collaboration on his 1987 film “Empire of the Sun.”

“She would get such a kick out of my receiving this honor that bears her name. Because the memory of her smile is lighting up this night for me. Thank you,” he said.

Cheryl Hines and Steve Weber presented the Creative Coalition with the Humanitarian Award “for its dedication to utilizing Arts and Entertainment to promote social change.”

Academy Award-winning director Taylor Hackford presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to longtime location manager Dow Griffith, who has worked on “Bourne Legacy,” “Contagion” and “Jumanji.”

Location managers JJ Levine and Diane Friedman presented location scout and LMGI founding member Beth Tate with this year’s Trailblazer Award. Tate has worked on “Twilight” and “Beverly Hills 90210.”

The awards ceremony this year was produced by Erick Weiss, Honeysweet Creative and Ingledodd Media.

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