Becca Bennett, a recent graduate from the University of Georgia, has been selected as the second recipient of the Sarah Jones Opportunity internship and training program, which is named after the 27-year-old camera assistant who was killed in Georgia in 2014 when she was struck by a freight train on the first day of filming on Midnight Rider.
Jones’ death sparked a renewed emphasis on safety throughout the industry, and the internship program is intended to create a lasting legacy in her name. “I am so glad they’re carrying Sarah Jones’ memory forward,” Bennett said.
A native Georgian like Jones, Bennett has been making short films since she in the third grade. “Since I was a kid, I’ve been obsessed with film and the entertainment industry and movies and TV,” she said. “I have always been interested in the process behind TV, and I think camera gives you a lot of control and really helps translate what you want to be seeing. It’s versatile and fulfilling. You get to really feel proud of your product and of what you create.” Watch her application video above.
The annual internship is sponsored by The Vampire Diaries — where Jones once worked — the Cinematographers Guild, Warner Bros Television Group, Atlanta IATSE Local 479 and SIM Digital. Its first graduate was Chelsea Craig, a former film school student from Trident Technical College in Charleston, SC, where Jones had also been a student. Craig, who completed the program last year, is now a member of the Cinematographers Guild.
The first phase of the program involves a 20-week paid internship and camera training at SIM Digital’s Atlanta office, followed by 30 days as a Cinematographers Guild-covered crew member on WBTV’s The Vampire Diaries in Georgia, where Bennett will work as part of a show’s camera department.
Once she completes the program, the camera guild will waive its initiation fee and she’ll be eligible to join the guild and qualify for the Industry Experience Roster – the list of those eligible to work on union productions.