COLA is a signature event of the Film Liaisons In California Statewide (FLICS), a non-profit organization of 43 regional film offices and film commissions throughout the state, including the Del Norte/Humboldt Film Commission. Every year individuals and production teams are nominated that went above and beyond in their job to help make filming happen with in California.
Film commissioner, Cassandra Hesseltine, has nominated ranger John O’Rourke for two years in a row in the public employee of the year (state category). Last year, ranger O’Rourke made it as one of the four finalists in that category. This year, he won.
"He is a gem when it comes to having a ranger that not only protects the redwoods by adhering to the high standards of treatment of the parks but also knows the importance of being film friendly," says Hesseltine.
Last year’s nomination was based on his help scouting for locations for the feature film "After Earth" (starring Will and Jaden Smith and shot in Humboldt County in April).
This year’s nomination was written right after the shooting of "After Earth" commenced and included a testimony from the location supervisor, Doug Dresser, who said, "We requested to film in the crown jewel of the park.
Hesseltine says that it was bitter-sweet watching ranger O’Rourke accept his award with his delighted wife, Christina, watching in the audience, "This is the last time we can nominate him. He’s retiring! Ranger O’Rourke is just not replaceable. Though I know the rest of the rangers in Humboldt Redwoods State Park are great and I don’t doubt they will rise to the challenge."
Along with a COLA winner from Humboldt County, the Film Commissioner was able to take a gift-basket full of Humboldt-made products and Del Norte keepsakes to the location team of the year for TV episodic show "Southland:Sunset," including items from Dick Taylor Chocolates, Mad River Brewery, Old Town Coffee and Chocolates, Drakes Chocolate, Eel River Brewery, Lost Coast Brewery, Six Rivers Brewery, Humboldt Hardware, an Abruzzi gift certificate and a certificate for a night’s stay at Rose Court Cottage.
PHOTO COURTESY DEL NORTE/HUMBOLDT COUNTY FILM COMMISSION
Film commissioner, Cassandra Hesseltine stands with COLA winner, ranger John O’Rourke, from Humboldt Redwoods State Park, and his wife, Christina, at historical Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, Calif.