Documentary Planned For Camera Assistant Killed On 'Midnight Rider' Set
It's been over a year since camera assistant Sarah Jones died after a freight train plowed through a trestle where crew members were filming Midnight Rider. Now, a documentary on her life, untimely death and safety practices in Hollywood is in the works.
Eric Smith (Boston’s Finest) and Christopher Crescitelli (Experience Montreaux 3D), the filmmakers behind the documentary We Are Sarah Jones, are planning to begin shooting this summer and launch a crowdfunding campaign to fund it, Deadline reports.
They even got the blessing from the Sarah Jones' parents, Elizabeth and Richard Jones, who said that though they had been contacted by many others to make a documentary about their daughter's life, they chose Smith and Crescitelli because they knew her personally.
"I feel as though there has been a number of safety instances over the years that the industry needs to focus on, and Sarah's death galvanized the industry in focusing on this issue," Smith told Deadline. "We want to keep Sarah’s memory alive and show the film industry that her death was not in vain and there are many people focused on keeping the topic of set safety in the forefront."
Sarah Jones, 27, was killed and seven others injured during the first day of shooting the Gregg Allman biopic on Feb. 20, 2014 when a freight train plowed through a trestle in Jesup, Ga. The railroad company said it had denied filmmakers permission to film there, but it wasn't clear who knew about the denial or allowed crew to film on the trestle. Sarah Jones and the crew were on the trestle constructing set pieces when the train came through, and they didn't have enough time to get out of the way. (A 17-second video was released in March showing the chilling final moments before the train incident.) Sarah Jones was killed when a piece of debris knocked her into the path of the oncoming train.
Her death has shown that running productions with unsafe practices for workers also has its consequences. In March, the film's director Randall Miller pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in her death. Miller was sentenced to 10 years but he will only serve two years as a part of the plea agreement since this is his first offense. Hillary Schwartz, Midnight Rider's first assistant director, was found guilty of criminal trespass and involuntary manslaughter. She's been sentenced to 10 years of probation as part of a plea agreement. Executive producer Jay Sedrish was sentenced to 10 years of probation, a $10,000 fine and is also barred from directing or doing any job in film that involves the safety of employees.