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Sarah Jones’ Father Says “Thank You” In Letter To ASC President, Industry

By | Thursday May 8, 2014 @ 7:50am PDT

Sarah Jones Midnight Rider deathThis morning, Sarah Jones‘ father gave thanks to Richard Crudo, the president of the American Society of Cinematographers, for his letter to the membership and the industry regarding the tragic death of Jones on the set of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider. Crudo outlined a “spiritual sickness” in the industry and asked, “Will we just make note of Sarah’s passing, bow our heads for a moment and then carry on? Or will we use it — and I mean really use it — to effect genuine change in how we regard one another?”

We spoke to Mr. Jones this morning; he hopes his daughter’s death brings about true change. He called Crudo’s letter an “outstanding, eye-opening realization” that inspired him to write his own thoughts to Crudo and also share it with this industry. Here s Mr. Jones’ letter in its entirety:

Mr. Richard Crudo,

I am Sarah Jones’ father. Thank you for writing from The ASC’s President’s Desk, ‘On the death of Sarah Jones’. It is heartfelt and well said.

As I read this I am reminded of why Sarah was so excited about entering your world of making films. I recall our routine talks of hearing of her new experiences of the day. We talked about lighting color temperatures, how certain actors required certain filters due to the “negative effects” of HD (but I guess that’s supposed to be a secret) and so

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ASC President Pens Sarah Jones Letter: Industry Afflicted By “Spiritual Sickness”

Sarah Jones death Midnight RiderFollowing the February 20 death of Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones on set in rural Georgia, American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) President Richard Crudo has placed blame for the tragedy on what he calls an industry-wide “spiritual sickness.” “The public outpouring of grief by individuals and groups connected to the camera department was remarkable, but the fact that it came almost exclusively from us uncovered a dark secret most of us have known for quite some time: This industry is in trouble, and I don’t mean economically, but spiritually,” he wrote in an open letter posted on the org’s website and published in the May issue of ASC’s American Cinematographer. The American Pie and Justified DP also calls on his fellow directors of photography to effect change on their sets post-Sarah Jones to ensure the safety of their crew:

Related: Gregg Allman Files Lawsuit To Stop ‘Midnight Rider’ Film

asc logoDetails surrounding the February death of second camera assistant Sarah Jones in Georgia have been well documented, but something important has been lost in the reportage. The facts, as they’ve been related, describe a horrible and preventable tragedy. The public outpouring of grief by individuals and groups connected to the camera department was remarkable, but the fact that it came almost exclusively from us uncovered a dark secret most of us have known for quite some time: This industry is in trouble, and I don’t mean economically, but spiritually.

From time to time, the late ASC legend William A. Fraker liked to hold court in the Clubhouse bar and expound upon the early days of his career. “Those were the good days,” he was fond of saying. “You could feel the romance when you went to work.” His emotion was palpable, and those of us lucky enough to be there believed his every word. But look a little deeper, and his sentiment becomes more than a nostalgic reference to the era of highballs and unfiltered cigarettes. He was really talking about the feeling of family and community that infused the movie business of his day.

Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

According to Fraker, filmmaking collaborators showed a genuine caring for one another that extended well beyond the workplace. Though a similar ethic may exist in isolated pockets today, it bears no relation to its predecessor. There is no question that in the 1940s and ’50s, and even up to the ’70s, society had a sharper understanding of what was really lasting and meaningful in life. On the soundstages of 2014, it’s likely those notions of warmth and common decency will prevail only as long as they can generate cold, hard cash.

I am by no means suggesting the past was rampant with peace, love and understanding. There were plenty of things wrong with our culture then, and there was no way for Fraker to know it was already beginning to unravel. But if we’re honest, his gauzy recollections force us to confront uncomfortable truths about how we think of and treat one another, even in the smallest of ways.

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