Film industry pushes safety in wake of tragedy - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Film industry pushes safety in wake of tragedy

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It has been a month since the tragic accident that claimed the life of Sarah Jones on the set of "Midnight Rider," but many in the film industry say that now is the time to discuss and emphasize the need for safety on set. 

With 70,000 likes on the slates for Sarah Jones Facebook page, the outpouring of support continues for those involved in the film community. 

"There was every emotion you can think of across the board: immediate anger, sadness, shock and it is still going through it,"  IATSE Local 479 representative, Chris Clark. "We are moving forward with positive progress with these meetings; these safety awareness meetings. That is what is keeping every together."

Chris Clark was a close friend of Sarah, and part of her IATSE union. Clark emphasized the need for industry change as the guest speaker at Saturday's safety seminar hosted by the Savannah Filmmakers and "SWIFT", Savannah Women in Film and Television. 

"We aren't pointing fingers," said Clark. This is us. This is our industry, so all I can think of is getting out there speaking; talking to kids in college in the industry."

The panel, consisting of OSHA, union and industry veterans, explained that this is a grassroots effort to improve safety standards. 

"At some point, you have to say we have reached a critical mass here," said CEO, Golden Isles Production, Bernie Ask. "Safety is so vital and we need to address it. In addition to Sarah's passing, there were seven other people. People looked at it on common sense; maybe we shouldn't have done that. In reality, people are so involved in their narrow focus on the set that nobody is looking at the big picture, and we want people looking at the big picture."

"This is reinforcing what we know," said President of Medient Studios, Inc. "We want people to be able to point out safety issues, or say no."

Industry leaders also hope this will set the standard and encourage more folks to speak up without fear of losing their jobs 

"It is sad that it takes something like this, but it is a wake up call from everybody, from the first day on set to directors of 30 to 40 years," said Clark. "We have support from all of them and everybody is taking this as a wake up call, and as a step forward to change this industry in a positive way."

The group plans on posting a lot of information online to help share the safety guidelines that have already been documented, but never shared in a central place. 


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