Oscar Winner Haskell Wexler Speaks About Sarah Jones Accident, Urges Safety

“Right now the conditions are not humane,” he told THR at the debut Location Managers Guild Awards.
Sarah Jones memorial poster

Two-time Oscar-winning director of photography Haskell Wexler spoke with The Hollywood Reporter  Saturday during the debut Location Managers Guild Awards about safety and the recent Midnight Rider accident that claimed the life of assistant camerawoman Sarah Jones.

"The Sarah Jones tragedy brings the public’s attention to something that has been going on for a number of years," Wexler said. "Sarah’s father has said -- and I agree with him -- that the only way her death will not be in vain is if we pay serious attention to safety. We are making entertainment and there’s no reason to risk our lives and our health to get a shot."

STORY: Who Will Be Blamed for Sarah Jones' Death?

Wexler, who won Oscars in cinematography for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Bound for Glory, maintains his ’12 On/12 Off’ organization to support his efforts over two decades of promoting safe and responsible filmmaking. On Saturday, he was honored with the Guild’s Humanitarian Award.

“Right now the conditions are not humane,” he said. “Fourteen, 16, 18 hour [workdays] are unsafe and very unhealthy. It also destroys families because there is no home life when you work those kind of hours.”

Producer Harry Bring -- who worked with Jones on Army Wives -- remembered Jones during the awards ceremony, where he was a presenter. Bring wore a black ribbon in her memory, and said “the accident will make safety the most important thing for years to come.”

Jones was killed Feb. 20 in Georgia, when she was struck by a train during production on the upcoming Gregg Allman biopic, Midnight Rider.

E-mail: Carolyn.Giardina@THR.com
Twitter: @CGinLA