February 17, 2015 | 11:33AM PT
Two major below-the-line IATSE locals — Local 600 (International Cinematographers Guild) and Local 479 (Studio Mechanics) — have joined a memorial campaign honoring camera assistant Sarah Jones, who was killed on the “Midnight Rider” set nearly a year ago on Feb. 20, 2014, in a train accident in Georgia.
The “Spirit of Sarah” campaign calls for production crews worldwide to take a moment of silence — known as “the Jonesy” — before the first production shot of the day and post photos, videos and remembrances on social media dedicated to promoting safety.
Those site include Facebook pages run by Local 600 and Local 479 along with We Are Sarah Jones, Pledge to Sarah and PSA: Production Safety Awareness.
Local 600 has launched an “SOS: Safety on Set” initiative and the ICG Safety app, resulting in over 1,700 downloads.
Jones’ parents, Richard and Elizabeth Jones, said in a statement, “This Friday, February 20th, marks the one year anniversary of our daughter’s death. As we stand in worldwide unity, it is through initiatives like this moment of silence that we can begin to realize the impact of one minute, a mere 60 seconds. In honor of Sarah, Richard and I ask that first, lift your eyes to the sky and give thanks for the loved ones in your life. Then, remember Sarah and in all you do, remember, ‘Never forget, never again.’ No shot, no scene, no movie or television show is more important than someone’s life. Please do not let his happen to another father, sister, brother, friend or co-worker. Our loss is still great, but knowing that we have come together as one, helps us day by day to remember Sarah and the positive outlook she had on life, her dedication to her work and her love for those around her. Richard and I thank all of you for your continued support, thoughts, prayers and friendships.”
Director Randall Miller, producer Jody Savin, executive producer Jay Sedrish and first assistant director Hillary Schwartz are each facing charges of criminal trespass and involuntary manslaughter. Each has pleaded not guilty. A trial is scheduled to start on March 9 in a Wayne County, Ga., court.
A federal commission has scheduled a hearing starting on March 31 on the filmmakers’ appeal of almost $75,000 in fines and safety violations proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which investigated the Feb. 20 train accident, in which Jones was killed and eight others were injured.
In response to OSHA’s proposed penalties, imposed in August, the filmmakers said in a response filed last year that they “took reasonable steps to ensure the safety of all crew present on site for filming at the incident location.”