Both the International Cinematographers Guild and the Society of Camera Operators will honor the late Sarah Jones, the 27-year-old assistant camerawoman who was killed two weeks ago on the train tracks of the set of Midnight Rider in Jessup, GA. First, the ICG will hold a candlelight vigil and memorial Friday that will be attended by her parents Elizabeth and Richard Jones, who are flying in from South Carolina for the event. In addition to the Local 600’s memorial, she was also honored at the Publicist’s Guild luncheon last Friday and will be honored again Saturday by the Society of Camera Operators at the Skirball Cultural Center as they hold their Lifetime Achievement awards.
Jones was tragically killed February 20 on the set of director Randall Miller’s Midnight Rider, a film based on the life of singer Greg Allman, when she was caught on the tracks and hit by a train as the production crew was filming a dream sequence. The picture was to be distributed in the states by Open Road Pictures. Production has since been shut down until further notice. Jones’ death has spawned a flurry of commentary and calls to action regarding film safety. She has become the symbol of a rising movement in the production community, and several black ribbons were seen during Sunday’s Oscar ceremony including by Best Sound Editing winner Glenn Freemantle of Gravity. She was mentioned during the Oscarcast following the In Memoriam segments in a graphic pointing viewers to the Academy’s website.
“I hope that the lesson the industry takes from this awful tragedy is that there can be no short cuts in the workplace. A person’s life is infinitely more important than a production’s schedule or budget,” said ICG president Steven Poster in a statement. “Safety has to be the number one priority in our industry.” The Local 600 is 7,000 members-strong and work in film, television and commercials as directors of photography, camera operators, visual effects supervisors, still photographers, camera assistants, film loaders, and all members of camera crews and publicists.
The candlelight walk event will start with a gathering by the IATSE Local 600 in front of the DGA building at 7920 Sunset Blvd. at 7 PM. Other union members are expected in attendance to show solidarity. They will walk from the DGA to the ICG’s national offices on 7755 Sunset Blvd. where the memorial will take place.