Despite being the first time one of its members will go behind bars for an on-set death, the Guild made no direct mention today of the involuntary manslaughter guilty plea by Midnight Rider director Randall Miller in the death of Sarah Jones last February. However, the DGA did mention safety on set and productions in response to a Miller’s total 10 year sentence which consists of 2-years in prison and 8 years probation. In addition, he must pay a $20,000 fine and perform 360 hours of community service.
This tragic accident and its consequences must serve as an indelible reminder to everyone involved in film production that safety on set is of paramount importance,” said the Directors Guild Monday just hours after the court hearing in Georgia. The trial of Miller, his wife and producer Jody Savin and EP and unit production manager Jay Sedrish was expected to last over a week but it was over almost before it began.
“In the year since Sarah Jones’ horrific death, the dialogue within the entertainment community about being vigilant on set and speaking up if something seems unsafe has certainly increased, and organizations including the DGA have reiterated the availability of 24/7 safety hotlines to report concerns,” said the DGA today of the 27-year old camera assistant’s death. “However, there is still much work to be done to more clearly define roles and responsibilities regarding safety, to expand mandatory safety training to all employees involved with production beyond those working in California, and to extend the safety practices of the major studios to independent productions, so that everybody who steps onto a set knows that they are operating under the same high standards of how to ensure on-set safety. The DGA will continue to address these issues with the Employers, because no shot is worth the risk to anyone’s safety.”