Warner Bros. TV, 'Vampire Diaries' production team create 'Sarah Jones Opportunity'

Warner Bros. TV, 'Vampire Diaries' production team create 'Sarah Jones Opportunity'
Sarah Jones was struck and killed by a freight train in February 2014 during the filming of "Midnight Rider." On Wednesday, Warner Bros. Television Group and the production team from "The Vampire Diaries" announced they have joined forces with International Cinematographers Guild, Local 479 and SIM Digital to create "The Sarah Jones Opportunity," a new annual internship and job training program dedicated to the memory of the late camera assistant. (International Cinematographers Guild)

Warner Bros. Television Group and others in the industry announced Wednesday the creation of a Sarah Jones-inspired memorial internship and training program.

Jones, 27, was killed in February 2014 after a train crashed into a set on a trestle during the first day of filming "Midnight Rider" in Georgia. Her death sparked an outpouring of concern by people in the entertainment  industry, many of whom have advocated for better safety on sets in the wake of the accident.

The training opportunity is specifically geared toward Georgia-based filmmakers like Jones, who worked on a number of local productions including "The Vampire Diaries," which was shot in Atlanta.

Warner Bros. Television Group joined forces with the production team from "The Vampire Diaries," the International Cinematographers Guild, Local 479 and SIM Digital (a provider of production equipment, dailies and post-production solutions) to create the training program, deemed "The Sarah Jones Opportunity." The Atlanta Mayor's Office of Film & Entertainment also backed the new initiative.

"Sarah was a beloved member of our camera crew," said Julie Plec, executive director of "The Vampire Diaries," in a statement. "Her vivid, delightful personality, extraordinary work ethic and deep love for the creative and technical aspects of her job made her the kind of artist any production would be lucky to have on the team. Her family at 'The Vampire Diaries' is excited to honor her memory by providing opportunities and opening doors for more people like her."

The program includes a 20-week paid internship at SIM's Digital's Atlanta office followed by 30 days of work as a crew member on an Atlanta-based Warner Bros. TV production.  Participants are selected by a committee, which includes Plec, representatives from ICG Local 600, SIM Digital, "The Vampire Diaries" camera department and the Atlanta Mayor's Office of Film & Entertainment.

Richard and Elizabeth Jones, the parents of Sarah Jones, expressed their gratitude for the training program. Earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, Sarah's parents unveiled a public service announcement called "Safety for Sarah." The message urged viewers to honor Jones' memory by directing them to PledgetoSarah.org and download a set safety app.

"We are honored that you have chosen to recognize our daughter with this internship opportunity for future students looking to excel in camera work," they said in a statement. "It is our hope that her spirit will live on through this program, which gives other aspiring filmmakers the chance to pursue their dreams in a field that Sarah loved. Never forget: Never again shall anyone die while making a movie."

The internship and job training program kicked off with its inaugural participant Chelsea Craig. The former film student from Trident Technical College has completed her training and is now a member of the International Cinematographers Guild (ICG).

"No one can replace Sarah, but we want to be part of a driving force behind making the world a better place in her absence, by mentoring others who will follow in her path," said Rob Sim, president and CEO of the Sim Group.

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