WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Hundreds gathered for a candlelight walk and memorial in West Hollywood Friday to honor an assistant camerawoman who was killed while filming in Georgia last month.
Sarah Jones, 27, died on Feb. 20 when a train barreled into the set of “Midnight Rider,” which was on railroad tracks. Six others were injured.
Jones’ parents, Elizabeth and Richard, flew in from their home in South Carolina to attend the event, which started at the Directors Guild of America on Sunset Boulevard and ended at the International Cinematographers Guild’s national offices.
“Do not have a reason for another father to stand up here and to give this talk. No one’s daughter, no one’s son, should ever die again making a film. Never,” Richard said.
Friends, co-workers, and at least 500 union and guild members and members of the production company also took part in the remembrance.
“I heard about it last Saturday. It’s shocked me to the core,” Michelle Opseth, an assistant camera operator, said. “Safety has been an issue for a long time. It could be any of us. We’re all Sarah Jones.”
“No movie, no TV show and no job opportunity is worth the sacrifice of a human life,” Steven Poster of the Cinematographers Guild said.
KCAL9’s Dave Bryan reports that Jones’ death has raised serious safety issues.
The local sheriff in Georgia told reporters that the railroad had not given permission for the tracks to be used in a film shoot.
Camera operator Kirby Washington knows first-hand how dangerous film sets can be.
“I walk on this cane now because I was thrown from a train 10 years ago on a movie set,” he said.
Asked if low-budget, out-of-state productions sometimes skirt the safety rules, Washington said, “Cutting corners is part of the thing. We try to, of course, accommodate because we want to come in on budget or under budget. But we just have to have a reset on how we do this.”
Jones’ death is being investigated by several agencies in Georgia.