A year after 27-year-old camera assistant was killed by a freight train in Georgia, the parents of Sarah Jones launched a new effort to keep their daughter's memory alive.
Richard and Elizabeth Jones attended the Sundance Film Festival in Utah on Monday to attend a panel on film set safety and to unveil a public service announcement reminding crews about the tragedy, which was one of the worst film accidents in decades.
The two-minute plus Safety for Sarah PSA features actors, directors, grips, electricians and other crew members who call on "producers, productions, unions and crews" to "implement daily safety meetings" and "stop and care." The message urges viewers to honor Jones' memory by directing them to PledgetoSarah.org and download a set safety app.
"If you see something say something," says Gina Rodriguez. "If you feel unsafe speak up," adds Paul Dano. “It’s time to take a stand,” says director David Lynch. “To make safety a top priority,” continues Jack Black.
The PSA comes nearly a year after a train collided into Jones and several other crew members filming a scene on railway tracks near Savannah, Georgia. The crew were filming the first day of the production "Midnight Rider," a biopic about rocker Gregg Allman. The producers did not have a permit to film on the tracks, according to authorities.
"Her (Sarah's) name has become synonymous with set safety and we want to carry that message forward," said Richard Jones in an interview. He and his wife will meet with union officials in Los Angeles next month to discuss various proposed safety practices, such as empowering crew members to speak out if they see a problem. "It's truly a problem that crew members fear speaking out if it's a safety issue," he added.
The accident caused "Midnight Rider" to shut down and prompted multiple investigations by various federal and state agencies.
A Georgia grand jury on July 2 indicted Miller and Savin as well as executive producer Jay Sedrish on charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass. Miller, Savin and Sedrish have pleaded not guilty. A trial date for criminal case has been set for March 9, 2015.
In August, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the Pasadena company Film Allman LLC for "one willful and one serious safety violation" for exposing employees to hazards, with proposed penalties totaling $74,900.
Jones' parents last year sued the filmmakers for negligence, but later dropped their case against them after reaching a confidential settlement. Railway company CSX remains a defendant in that case.