On February 20, 2014, Sarah Elizabeth Jones, 27, was tragically killed and several others were injured by a train while filming Midnight Rider, a biopic about musician Gregg Allman. Sarah’s death prompted an outpouring of grief in the movie industry and galvanized film crew members throughout the entertainment industry, highlighting longstanding concerns about set safety.
Safety for Sarah has come to represent, not only the tragedy of that day, but all those in the film industry... to create safer film sets. Many in the industry relate to what happened to Sarah, thus the adage: "We Are Sarah Jones."
Never Forget - Never Again.
A letter from Richard Jones on the 6th anniversary of Sarah's passing
On February 20th, six years ago, my wife Elizabeth sat down in front of me and flatly said… “Sarah is dead.”
It is hard to fathom hearing and accepting such horrifying words. On this sixth anniversary of my daughter Sarah Jones' passing, while I could talk about her life, I would rather talk about how much Sarah has accomplished since her death. I would rather share with you her legacy.
Before doing so, Elizabeth and I wish to remember the other victims present six years ago on the set of Midnight Rider in Georgia, each with their own grief and journeys. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with them.
As for Sarah’s ongoing legacy, I still marvel at how a 27-year-old camera assistant could possibly change the culture of an entire industry.
Mike Miller, VP IATSE, said, “We need to remember Sarah Jones, and we need to know that she will always be protecting us from this point forward… This tragedy has brought together the filmmaking community in a way that I have never seen. Much of that is due to the person Sarah was… hardworking, fun, and a friend to very many people.”
Sarah’s epitaph reads: “TO HAVE KNOWN SARAH WAS A BLESSING. IT WAS TO FEEL AN ENERGY THAT WAS INFECTIOUS AND KIND.”
The Sarah Jones Film Foundation was created to help foster awareness and accountability around the message to NEVER FORGET, NEVER AGAIN.
The SJFF conducts forward-thinking outreach through initiatives that include Safety Grants specifically designated to cover the costs of appropriate set safety on student films across the United States and Canada. Our goal is to change the culture of the film industry by teaching young filmmakers to treat set safety as a necessity, not a luxury.
Another initiative is naming the first shot of the day “The Jonesy Shot.” By calling out the Jonesy after each day’s safety meeting, crews can remember Sarah and affirm the vital importance of safety on set each and every moment of the day.
Also, the Sarah Jones Field Day is held every October in Atlanta to allow cast and crew members to gather and to once again encourage safe sets. In these and other ways detailed on our website (SafetyForSarah.org), the Sarah Jones Film Foundation raises awareness and fosters best practices around set safety, fueled by who Sarah Jones was… and continues to be.
Father of Sarah Jones
This tragedy has brought together the film making community in a way that I have never seen. Much of that is due to the person Sarah was… hard working, fun, and a friend to very many people. What happened on that train trestle in Georgia horrifies us all. It can never happen again.
- Mike Miller, Vice President, IATSE