(April 22, 2015 – Burbank, CA) – Warner Bros. Television Group and the production team from “The Vampire Diaries” have joined forces with the International Cinematographers Guild (IATSE Local 600), Local 479 and SIM Digital (a leading provider of production equipment, dailies and post-production solutions, via its office in Atlanta, Georgia) to create The Sarah Jones Opportunity, a new annual internship and job training program dedicated to the memory of the late camera assistant Sarah Jones.
A bright young member of the Georgia film community, Jones worked in the camera department on a number of local productions, including Warner Bros. Television’s drama series “The Vampire Diaries,” which is shot in Atlanta. Her loss a year ago continues to be felt personally and professionally throughout the industry. With the support of the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Film & Entertainment, The Sarah Jones Opportunity specifically targets aspiring Georgia-based filmmakers like Sarah who have a passion for working in the camera field but would otherwise not have access to the entertainment industry, and provides them with an open door to opportunity. The program’s inaugural participant, Chelsea Craig, has completed her training and is now a member of the International Cinematographers Guild (ICG).
“The Vampire Diaries” executive producer Julie Plec said: “Sarah was a beloved member of our camera crew. Her vivid, delightful personality, extraordinary work ethic, and deep love for the creative and technical aspects of her job made her the kind of artist any production would be lucky to have on the team. Her family at ‘The Vampire Diaries’ is excited to honor her memory by providing opportunities and opening doors for more people like her.”
Elements of The Sarah Jones Opportunity include:
- Internship/Job Training: The first phase of The Sarah Jones Opportunity involves a 20-week paid internship/camera training program at SIM Digital’s Atlanta office. Participants learn all aspects of digital cinematography, including HD, 2K and 4K camera technologies, digital loading and more. Participants will also have the opportunity to visit Warner Bros. Television sets to observe camera crews at work and to begin building their network of industry contacts.
- Work Experience on a WBTV Series: Participants who successfully complete the SIM Digital internship earn the opportunity to move on to the second phase of The Sarah Jones Opportunity, working 30 days as an ICG-covered crew member on an Atlanta-based Warner Bros. Television production such as “The Vampire Diaries” or “The Originals.” The participant will work as part of a show’s camera department, gaining practical experience and vital on-the-job training from established professionals.
- Camera Guild Membership: As part of The Sarah Jones Opportunity, ICG Local 600 will waive the guild initiation fee for the participant. Those who successfully complete 30 days on the WBTV production are then eligible to apply for membership to the ICG Local 600 and may qualify for the Industry Experience Roster. They will begin their freelance camera careers with the many contacts and friends they have made through the Opportunity.
- Inaugural Participant: The first recipient of The Sarah Jones Opportunity was Chelsea Craig, a former film school student from Trident Technical College in Charleston, SC. (Sarah Jones was also a student at Trident Tech, where she took various summer camera courses.) Chelsea recently completed her SIM Digital internship and served her 30-day apprenticeship in the camera department of “The Vampire Diaries.” She is now a member of ICG Local 600.
- Selection Committee: Candidates for The Sarah Jones Opportunity are evaluated by a special selection committee comprised of “The Vampire Diaries” executive producer Julie Plec and representatives from ICG Local 600, SIM Digital, “The Vampire Diaries” camera department and the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Film & Entertainment.
“Local 600 is proud to partner with Warner Bros. in honoring the spirit of our beloved Sarah Jones,” said Bruce Doering, National Executive Director of the International Cinematographers Guild, IATSE Local 600. “Her life was an inspiration to every camera assistant, and this program is all about paying tribute to her legacy and training those who often do not have the opportunity to forge careers in motion pictures.”
“No one can replace Sarah, but we want to be part of a driving force behind making the world a better place in her absence, by mentoring others who will follow in her path,” said Rob Sim, President and CEO of The Sim Group. James Martin, Chief Strategy Officer of the SIM Group, added, “Sarah was a vital part of the Atlanta production community, and she touched many lives, including Ann DeGuire, president of our camera division, and a friend of hers. We want to help make a difference in Sarah’s name through this training program.”
“Mayor Kasim Reed’s Office of Film and Entertainment is proud to be a part of the selection committee that will give this incredible opportunity to a young person who aspires to build a career in the film and television industry,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “This internship will support individuals who demonstrate talent as well as excellence in their work ethic and attitude.”
Sarah’s parents, Richard and Elizabeth Jones, said: “Sarah’s death was a tragic loss, not only to our family but also to the filmmaking community as a whole. Her contagious, effervescent smile and professionalism made their mark across the globe, with Sarah becoming a beloved legend and inspiration for making safety a priority when filming. We are honored that you have chosen to recognize our daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Jones, with this internship opportunity for future students looking to excel in camera work. It is our hope that her spirit will live on through this program, which gives other aspiring filmmakers the chance to pursue their dreams in a field that Sarah loved. Never forget: Never again shall anyone die while making a movie.”
The application process for The Sarah Jones Opportunity for 2015 will begin in the coming months.
About the International Cinematographers Guild:
The International Cinematographers Guild (IATSE Local 600) represents more than 7,000 members who work in film, television and commercials as Directors of Photography, Camera Operators, Still Photographers, Camera Assistants, Film Loaders, all members of camera crews and Publicists. The first cinematographers union was established in New York in 1926, followed by unions in Los Angeles and Chicago, but it wasn't until 1996 that Local 600 was born as a national guild. ICG's ongoing activities include the Emerging Cinematographer Awards and the Publicists Awards Luncheon. The Guild also publishes the award-winning ICG Magazine. Learn more at www.cameraguild.com.
About The SIM Group:
Backed by Toronto-based investment firm Granite Partners, the SIM Group is a leading supplier of production equipment, workflow and post-production solutions, with offices across the U.S., Canada and China. Our diverse services can be utilized on any production at any stage. In Canada, our offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Halifax service grip and lighting from PS Production Services and can be complemented with SIM Digital cinematography and playback equipment for any production’s needs. Bling, Chainsaw and Pixel Underground provide an array of services from dailies, to online and offline editing, to final color/DI and visual effects. Bling’s services, which include a comprehensive workflow solution, are offered at all offices across the U.S. and Canada, as well as off-site service through POD (Post on Demand). Chainsaw’s full-service facility in Hollywood provides creative editorial and extensive finishing services with some of the top colorists in the industry. Rounding out the family of companies is Pixel Underground, a Toronto-based post-production company, and it’s associated service, StationEX, which provides physical and file-based media fulfillment and encoding/distribution services. For more information, visit simgroup.com.