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‘Midnight Rider’ Victim Sarah Jones Memorialized at Camera Operators Awards Ceremony Among Honors For ‘Gravity’ And ‘Mad Men’
The Society of Camera Operators held an in memoriam tribute to assistant camerawoman Sarah Jones as part of their annual awards ceremony tonight at the Skirball Cultural Center. The tribute was the second to be held for the 27-year old this weekend following Friday’s Sunset Blvd. candlelight walk and vigil in her honor, which counted nearly 1,000 local union members. Attending both events were Jones’ parents Richard and Elizabeth from South Carolina. Jones was killed in an on-set train accident during the production of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider on February 20 in Jesup, GA. Jones’ death has spurred an industry-wide outcry for improved safety standards.
As part of the ceremony, her parents were presented with a plaque accepting her as an honorary member of the SOC. Former SOC president Dan Kneece, who cut together the moving tribute video of Jones as the Hall and Oates song Sara Smile played, said he was crying as he put together the presentation. Although he didn’t know Jones personally, he was friends with her on Facebook because of a mutual friend, Amanda Etheridge who spoke at Friday night’s memorial about her friend and mentor.
There has been some commentary that this concern over safety will lapse as people move on from the tragedy and onto other jobs. That it will fade from memory, but both Steven Poster (ASC), president of the International Cinematographers Guild and Kneece said, the production community is committed. “The movement will continue,” said Kneece. “It was such an outrageous act. They knew exactly what they did. They drove to the spot which was an hour away for that (shot). We have to look out for each other because no one is going to do it for us.” SOC’s Awards chair David Frederick also asked the crowd gathered at the Skirball Center to show their commitment by signing up for the A Pledge to Sarah Facebook page.
There were standing ovations this year not only for the Lifetime Achievement winners but also one for Sarah Jones’ father, Richard, who said from the podium, “I know that she’s looking down right now with an extra big smile.” He relayed a story about hiking on a trail earlier in the day and coming across two young people making a film and so he stop and chatted, “and Sarah Jones’ name came up and they said they hoped to be like her as they got more into movies. Her enthusiasm was contagious, and I really hope that enthusiasm lives on.” He also thanked the camera operators and all those who have sent an outpouring of support. “We do appreciate the recognition for Sarah Jones,” he said. “She was truly a wonderful person. We heard these kind words far before her untimely death, and certainly the overwhelming support that we’ve received from all over the world has been so comforting … Elizabeth, her mother and I, we cannot express how much we appreciate that grace and comfort that we received.”
Among those honored tonight were Gravity‘s Peter Taylor with the Camera Operator of the Year-Feature Film award and Mad Men‘s Don Devine with the Camera Operator of the Year-TV award. The ceremony took place before an audience of 500, including Society of Camera Operators and International Cinematographer Guild (ICG) members at the Skirball Center. Full press release of winners and honorees is below:
LOS ANGELES, March 8, 2014 — The Society of Camera Operators (SOC) tonight announced winners of the Camera Operator of the Year Awards in film and television at its 2014 Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards. Additional honors were presented to previously announced recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Distinguished Service Award, Technical Achievement Award and President’s Award during the black-tie event in Herscher Hall at the Skirball Cultural Center. The event took place before an audience of 500, including SOC and International Cinematographer Guild (ICG) members, industry executives and press. SOC Vice President and Awards Executive Producer David Frederick, SOC, presided over the event with emcee Bruce Carse. All proceeds from the show are donated to the Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
A special In Memoriam tribute to Sarah Jones, the 27-year-old assistant camerawoman killed by a train while filming Midnight Rider on February 20, was included in the evening’s events. Jones’ parents, Richard and Elizabeth, were in attendance.
Lifetime Achievement Award recipients included Chris Haarhoff, SOC, Camera Operator; Bill Coe, Camera Technician; Barry Wetcher, SMPSP, Still Photographer; Jack Carpenter, Mobile Camera Platform Operator. The Distinguished Service Award was presented to the Founder of Filmtools, Inc., Stan McClain, SOC. Leonard Chapman, Founder of Chapman-Leonard Studio Equipment, received the President’s Award. Accepting the Technical Achievement Awards were President Tom Hallman, on behalf of Pictorvision, and Dave Grober, Founder and President, on behalf of Motion Picture Marine. The honor for Historical Shot went to J. Michael Muro for his zip line shot in The Mighty Quinn.
Presenters for this year’s awards were producer/director Will Gluck (Annie) and producer Duncan Henderson (Oblivion). Guests included ICG President Steven Poster, ICG National Executive Director Bruce Doering, SOC President Chris Tufty, President of Local 871 Michele Tedlis Sorbo and President of Local 80 Russell Nordstedt. Richard Crudo, President of American Society of Cinematographers, presented the Camera Operator of the Year Awards.
SOC 2014 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RECIPIENTS:
Camera Operator of the Year – Feature Film
Peter Taylor, ACO, SOC – Gravity
Camera Operator of the Year – Television
Don Devine, SOC – Mad Men
SOC Awards Sponsors: Premiere Level: Panavision; Platinum Level: Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment, Inc., International Cinematographers Guild (IATSE Local 600); Gold Level: Canon; Silver Level: AJA Video, Clairmont Camera, Fox Studios Production Services, Jules Berlin Agency, Paramount Pictures, Pictorvision, Preston Cinema Systems, Sony Electronics Inc., Tiffen, VER.
In Memoriam Tribute to Sarah Jones: The Society of Camera Operators (SOC) added a special In Memoriam tribute to Sarah Jones, the 27-year-old assistant camerawoman killed by a train while filming Midnight Rider. As several members of the SOC had contact with Sarah during her career, the event organizers felt the special segment was an essential addition to the event attended by a wide range of industry professionals. “The SOC considers Sarah one of our own and will be including her as an Associate Member based on her work to date. Her loss will be an inspiration to the production community for safety on the set at all times,” said David Frederick, SOC awards chairman. “The segment celebrates her joy of life and work as we witness the outpouring of support on social media from her ‘set families,’ including the Slates For Sarah Facebook page with over 65,000 likes and growing every day,” he continued. A special Pledge to Sarah page has been created to inspire safety awareness for all camera operators on set.
About The Society of Camera Operators: The Society of Camera Operators, founded in 1979, is an organization dedicated to the advancement of the art and creative contributions of the Camera Operator in the Motion Picture and Television industry. Their goal is to nurture excellence in the field of camera operation and allied camera crafts, encouraging development of both technology and production methods to enhance their work. Society members are kept at the forefront of the industry’s ever-advancing technology through their continuing workshops and corporate-sponsored equipment showcases. The SOC publishes the Camera Operator magazine. The Society donates the proceeds of their Annual Lifetime Achievements Awards Event to the Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Membership includes Camera Operators, Directors of Photography, Camera Assistants and Still Photographers. The official website can be found at www.soc.org.
Science Channel has given the greenlight to multi-format series I F-ING LOVE SCIENCE, to be exec produced by Craig Ferguson. Show is inspired by the popular Facebook page I F*cking Love Science which has attracted over 11M social media followers since it was created three years ago by British biology student Elise Andrew, who is onboard as a consulting producer. The series is produced by Green Mountain West Productions and Karga7 Productions and will premiere in the fourth quarter of 2014 featuring a blend of live-action, animation, and recreations showcasing the random connectivity of science with appearances by celebrities and scientists. Ferguson made the announcement via taped message at Science Channel’s SXSW Interactive event Saturday. The late night host will exec produce alongside Green Mountain West Productions partner Rebecca Tucker, Karga7′s Sarah Wetherbee, and Science Channel’s Debbie Adler Myers and Rocky Collins. The network’s VP of Production Bernadette McDaid is overseeing.
“I felt like Veronica’s superpower could be that she just doesn’t give a s–t what people think about her,” says creator Rob Thomas.
Lifetime tonight unveiled promo for sixth and final season of Drop Dead Diva, beginning Sunday, March 23 at 9 PM ET/PT. After a brief cancellation a year ago, Lifetime‘s Drop Dead Diva was resurrected with a fifth-season pickup and in September received a 13-episode Season 6 renewal. Then, last month, the network announced that the upcoming sixth season would be the series’ last. Since resurrecting Diva last March, Lifetime saw both of its freshman series, Devious Maids and The Witches Of East End, perform well and earn second-season renewals.
Watch the Drop Dead Diva final-season trailer here: