UPDATED: Participants walked from the DGA to the nearby International Cinematographers Guild headquarters for a memorial.
The International Cinematographers Guild (IATSE Local 600) held a candlelit walk and memorial Friday evening for Sarah Jones, the 27-year-old assistant camerawoman who was killed Feb. 20 while on location in Georgia.
Well over 500 participants –Local 600 members, fellow union and guild members, and members of the production community—gathered at DGA headquarters, and at 7 p.m. began walking to a memorial service at ICG’s national offices, which is nearby on Sunset Blvd. Some carried signs that read “Never forget, never again.”
In the ICG parking lot, a memorial video featuring photos of Jones played.
Jones’ parents, Elizabeth and Richard Jones, were in attendance. Richard Jones thanked the crowd for the “beautiful tribute to a beautiful soul,” adding, “She considered you family.”
“This is the beginning of a movement for safer sets,” he said, adding there was “no reason for another father to have to give this talk.”
Jones’ parents also issued a statement ahead of the walk.
“We are so overwhelmed with the vast outpouring of love and compassion from not only those who knew our Sarah Elizabeth Jones, but from those of you who never even met her,” the statement read. “In her own way, Sarah touched each of you and her passing has left a void in many parts. From her unnecessary death, a cry for change has circled the globe. We are hopeful that this tragedy is just the beginning to making film sets a safer place to work, and that Sarah’s death will not be in vain. At this time, Sarah’s family has chosen not to make any comment and asks that you respect their privacy at this time.”
Two of Jones’ friends and co-workers, assistant camerawoman Amanda Etheridge and director of photography Robert LaBonge, also spoke.
Etheridge, who worked with Jones on Lifetime’s Army Wives, called Jones a mentor, saying “everything with her was fun.” LaBonge remembered “everyone wanted Sarah by there side.”
Also speaking at the memorial were ICG president Steven Poster, ICG national executive director Bruce Doering and IATSE vp Mike Miller. Attendees included cinematographers John Toll (a two-time Oscar winner), John Bailey, Nancy Schreiber, Julio Macat and James Chressanthis.
Doering was the first to address the mourners, calling Jones “One of us.”
“Not above the line or below the line. She is international,” he said.
Poster spoke next, saying, “We must never, ever forget this.
“The death of Sarah Jones will stand for something. No movie or job opportunity is worth a human life,” he said, getting emotional as he spoke. “Our union is a family. We vow never to forget. Never again.”
Miller asserted that the accident “should never have happened. … Nobody dies making movies again.”
Participants also remembered the members of the crew that received injuries in the accident.
Poster concluded the memorial, urging everyone to support the memory of Sarah, and asking for a moment of silence.
Jones was killed when she was struck by a train in Wayne County, Ga., while filming Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider. Multiple investigations are underway, including from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Georgia law enforcement authorities are treating the investigation into Jones’ death as a negligent homicide.
The Ol’ SAG Watchdog
*Photo by Hollywood Reporter