September 2014

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46 CINEMONTAGE / SEP-OCT 14 compiled by Jeff Burman A ccording to the song lyrics to "Midnight Rider," the singer has to "run to keep from hidin'" because he's "not gonna let 'em catch me." But prosecutors in Georgia have caught and charged Midnight Rider filmmakers Randall Miller, Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing in the death of Sarah Jones on February 20, writes Dave McNary in Variety. The 27-year-old camera assistant was killed on a train track on the first day of shooting the film. Seven other crew members were injured. Miller and Savin are the owners of Unclaimed Freight Productions Inc., which was producing Midnight Rider, and Sedrish is the executive producer. Miller is also the director of the film, the story of musician Gregg Allman. The manslaughter charge carries a potential 10-year prison sentence under Georgia law. The fatality has inspired the Hollywood community to seek increased awareness of safety issues. HOLLYWOOD'S HEALTH AND SAFETY NIGHTMARE In the wake of an incident on the set of the new Star Wars sequel and the Sarah Jones death, Julia Llewellyn Smith writing for The Independent in the UK, penned an essay on the history of film-set dangers over the last century. Statistics are hard to come by, writes Smith, since most health and safety executives don't file incidents under "film industry," but it appears that between 20 and 40 people worldwide are killed or seriously injured during film productions each year. "Film sets are inherently dangerous," says a producer of several blockbusters who prefers not to be named. "If you're talking horror or thriller genres, where the public always demands more thrills than ever before, you can add in weapons, explosives, chemicals, loud noises, cranes, helicopters. Factor in the constant time and money pressures, the fact that nearly everyone is freelance and working on a temporary structure, and it's actually surprising more disasters don't happen." In the early days of filmmaking, death and injuries were reliable occupational hazards. Between 1925 and 1930, nearly 11,000 people were injured during Californian film productions; 55 died. During the filming of 1920's Haunted Spooks, actor Harold Lloyd lost his thumb and the first finger of his right hand when he picked up a bomb with a lit fuse. He assumed it was a prop but it turned out to be real. For the rest of his career, Lloyd hid his missing fingers with a prosthetic glove. In the same year, actress Lillian Gish lost the tips of her fingers to frostbite while being filmed floating on an ice floe drifting towards Niagara Falls for D.W. Griffith's Way Down East. In 1928's Noah's Ark, 15,000 gallons of water were dumped too quickly onto a crowd of extras in a studio tank. Three men drowned, another lost a leg and dozens were LABOR MAT TERS 'Midnight Rider' Filmmakers Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter

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