‘Midnight Rider’ Trial: DGA Calls for More Set Safety

The Directors Guild of America has called for more work on set safety after DGA member and “Midnight Rider” director Randall Miller pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the February 2014 death of Sarah Jones.

Miller received a sentence of two years in prison, 10 years probation, a $20,000 fine and 360 hours of community service in a court hearing Monday in Georgia.

“This tragic accident and its consequences must serve as an indelible reminder to everyone involved in film production that safety on set is of paramount importance,” the DGA said in a statement. “In the year since Sarah Jones’ horrific death, the dialogue within the entertainment community about being vigilant on set and speaking up if something seems unsafe has certainly increased, and organizations including the DGA have reiterated the availability of 24/7 safety hotlines to report concerns.”

The guild, which has over 15,000 members, did not mention Miller by name.

“However, there is still much work to be done to more clearly define roles and responsibilities regarding safety, to expand mandatory safety training to more employees involved with production, and to extend the safety practices of the major studios to independent productions, so that everybody who steps onto a set knows that they are operating under the same high standards of how to ensure on-set safety. The DGA will continue to address these issues with the Employers, because no shot is worth the risk to anyone’s safety.”

UPDATE, 5 p.m. PDT —

Steven Poster, president of the Intl. Cinematographers Guild, also issued a statement:

“There’s nothing to be happy about. No movie or TV show is worth a life.

We’re hoping this sends a message to everyone that safety regulations have to be followed at all times. The safety measures are already in place — the existing rules have to be followed, and we hope they will be.

There’s no such thing as cinematic immunity. The laws of nature aren’t repealed for a movie shoot.

I won’t comment on the specifics of the court proceedings, but I have to echo what Mr. Jones said: No one won anything today.”

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