Monterey County Film Commission Blog

Lights, Camera, Economic Action

Briana Gonzales wins MCFC’s Film Student Scholarship

Briana Gonzales, a graduating senior at the Cinematic Arts and Technology program at California State University, Monterey Bay, was named the 2017 winner of a $2,000 scholarship in the Monterey County Film Commission’s Director Emeritus Richard Tyler Film Student Scholarship Award Program. She is a Seaside resident, originally from Porterville, CA.

The Monterey County Film Commission film student scholarship program was created in 2008 to provide financial aid and incentive to students of film as well as beginning filmmakers who reside in Monterey County or those enrolled in a college or university in the county.  The fund was established as a permanent endowment with the Community Foundation for Monterey County.

Gonzales has a filmmaking career goal, and is focused on stop-motion animation which she feels offers opportunities to be creative and innovative. “It is rigorous work, but rewarding when I see my set and characters come to life,” Gonzales said.  “This award will allow me to invest in equipment and create a more intricate production set and well-constructed characters which would in turn show off my skills to studios and film festivals and help further my career in the art that is stop-motion animation,” Gonzales said.

Contributions to the film commission’s Director Emeritus Richard Tyler Film Student Scholarship Award Program were made by the Craig and Paula Tigerman family, in-kind support from the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and numerous local donors.

“We are pleased to be able to provide this award to Briana, and believe she is a determined filmmaker,” said Jeff Clark, film student scholarship committee chairperson and chair of the board of the Monterey County Film Commission.  “It is our hope that this contribution helps her toward achieving her career goals.”  Donations are welcomed for next year’s program.  For more information call 831-646-0910 or email

Monterey’s Summer of Love kicked off with “Monterey Pop” film

In May, the Monterey County Film Commission took nearly 800 movie-goers back in time to the 1967
Monterey International Pop Festival. It happened via a special screening of D.A. Pennebaker’s
documentary Monterey Pop, the ground-breaking film which blended music and film 50 years ago.
Held at Monterey’s historic Golden State Theatre, the event included a talk by Carmel’s professional photographer Tom Gundelfinger O’Neal, who shared behind-the-scenes insights on the festival and those who were capturing its action on film.

Guests wore flowers in their hair, sported I Was There in 1967 badges, and stopped by tables full of Monterey Pop Festival photos, Monterey Herald commemorative books, T-shirts and more in the lobby adorned with neon flower décor. As the theater lights dimmed, the musical icons who appeared at the landmark Monterey Pop Festival back in the day were seen again on the big screen: Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, Mama Cass Elliott, The Who, Ravi Shankar and many more. It was the 1960s and the Summer of Love rocking all over again.

There was a salute to MCFC’s 30th year anniversary, as Monterey’s Mayor Clyde Roberson presented a proclamation to MCFC’s Board President Alán Vasquez, in honor of the film commission’s many
accomplishments in attracting and assisting film productions such as the Big Little Lies HBO limited series and for the $100 million in economic impact that has resulted since the film commission was created by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors.

The film commission also put the spotlight on its 2017 film student scholarship winner Briana Gonzales, who was presented an oversized check for $2,000. She is a graduating senior in the Cinematic Arts and Technology program at California State University, Monterey Bay, planning a career in stop-motion animation.


Sandi Austin and Carol Crocker join Monterey County Film Commission Board


Sandi Austin
Carol Crocker


The Monterey County Film Commission board of directors has elected Sandi Austin of Aromas and Carol Crocker of Salinas to serve on the nonprofit’s board for three-year terms.

Austin is a business operations professional at Cisco Systems in San Jose, working to improve data access for peers and partners. Previously she worked in finance for six years, including senior auditor/accountant. She started her career at Seagate Technology in accounting, and has a BS degree in business administration from University of Phoenix. She has volunteered for organizations such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Women’s Crisis Line in Salinas, and the Human Rights Commission in San Jose.

Crocker is a retired sales and marketing executive, with experience in the grocery business, communications and security services, radio advertising, and amusement park group sales. She is originally from Southern California, and attended Riverside Community College. She was recognized by the vice president of student services at California State University, San Bernardino for high level of sales and services for KCAL radio. She volunteered for 12 years with the Riverside Humane Society’s “Raccoon Ball” annual fundraiser. Crocker currently belongs to the Prunedale-based “Wednesday Wranglers” program.

Film Commission Elects Kathleen Eckerson to Board of Directors

Kathleen Eckerson - Board of DirectorsThe Monterey County Film Commission board of directors has elected Kathleen Eckerson to serve a three-year term on the nonprofit organization’s board.

Eckerson is a wealth management advisor and owner of Suddenly Single Wealth Management® in Pebble Beach. She has a diverse background in economic development from senior management and consultant roles with the City of Fresno and County of Fresno, as well as the County of Monterey. Previously she was senior management analyst for the City and County of Fresno, and an instructor at California State University, Fresno, teaching their capstone course, strategy and policy. She also served as Fiserv, Inc.’s regional vice president of marketing, sales, client services, negotiations and corporate communications in their Fresno regional office.

Monterey County Board of Supervisors Honored By Film Commission

Reel Vision Award presented to former Supervisor Marc Del Piero pictured below
with MCFC Board President Jeff Clark and Board Chair Gloria Gargiulo

Monterey County Film Commission’s Board of Directors honored Monterey County Board of Supervisors
Photos: Robert Stanley

When the idea of creating a Monterey County Film Commission was being considered by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors in 1987, it was then Supervisor Marc Del Piero—along with Supervisor Sam Karas—who championed the cause. They hoped the county would benefit from the economic boost that on-location film production could bring to the area. Little did they know that by 2015 film productions would have meant more than $92 million in economic impact for Monterey County’s communities.