In light of the death of Sarah Jones, the camera assistant killed on the set of Midnight Rider in February, American Society of Cinematographers president Richard Crudo penned a letter that appears in the May issue of American Cinematographer, warning of a “spiritual sickness” in the film industry, citing “narcissism and a sense of entitlement [that] have drained some people of the ability to see anyone as being like themselves.”
“… If you think a certain loss of humanity didn’t play a primary role in what happened, you might be beyond saving yourself,” writes Crudo.
“The public outpouring of grief by individuals and groups connected to the camera department was remarkable, but the fact that it came almost exclusively from us uncovered a dark secret most of us have known for quite some time: This industry is in trouble, and I don’t mean economically, but spiritually,” writes Crudo.
In his letter, Crudo wonders if we have lost our sense of humanity and encourages people to face “the uncomfortable truths about how we think of and treat one another, even in the smallest of ways.”
“There is no question that in the 1940s and ’50s, and even up to the ’70s, society had a sharper understanding of what was really lasting and meaningful in life. On the soundstages of 2014, it’s likely those notions of warmth and common decency will prevail only as long as they can generate cold, hard cash.”
Crudo urged cinematographers to take direct responsibility for the safety of their crews. “It is incumbent upon us to find ways to be more decent and caring not only to them, but also to everyone we know. It won’t always be easy; at times, it will run counter to initial impulses. But if our example proves worthy, it might make a start toward curing the spiritual sickness I have described. It would also stand as the most profound tribute any of us could offer to the memory of Sarah Jones.”
To see the full letter, visit: http://www.theasc.com/ac_magazine/May2014/PresidentsDesk/page1.php