The International Cinematographers Guild (Local 600) devoted a Saturday roundtable to on-set safety after a year in which it was a critical topic, driven by the ratification of a new basic agreement IATSE – which, following contentious contract negotiations and a threat of a strike, was ratified last fall by a narrow margin of votes – and before the subject was amplified by the tragic death of the director of the photography Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust.
A culture where everyone plays a role in safety on film and television sets is vital, Guild members said during discussion at Cine Gear Expo, the annual motion picture equipment trade show held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
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“We will continue to advocate for rest periods, adequate weekends [and other safety measures]said Rebecca Rhine, national general manager of Local 600. “We want to deal with that in collective bargaining, which is an imperfect art, but you create a series of safeguards.” She cited examples, including the required 10-hour rest period described in the basic agreement, but added “a 10-hour rest period is not an endorsement of a 14-hour workday. “.
Rhine said Local 600 will continue to urge the passage of safety legislation. “That’s where we need to go” to regulate safety in areas where it’s not done elsewhere, she said. In California, two separate bills aimed at on-set safety have been introduced since the Rust the tragedy.
Noting that while the employer is ultimately responsible for the safety of people on set, she urged all crew members to join in the effort. “The tools are there,” she said, citing the Local 600 safety app to report issues as an example. “We need a common commitment to use them.”
Cinematographer Patrick Cady added that this includes figuring out how to ask for a break. “That’s a tough question to ask; it shouldn’t be,” he said. Attendees also reviewed topics ranging from the dangers of driving to and from a plateau without adequate sleep, to the need to implement and follow safety protocols, with an emphasis on those surrounding the use of firearms following the Rust the tragedy.
During Cine Gear, cinematographer and former Local 600 president Steven Post (Donnie Darko, Stuart Little 2) received the Expo Excellence Award. Lawrence Sher, Oscar nominee for Joker, received the Visionary in Cinematography Award and Autumn Durald Arkapaw (Loki, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) won the Emerging Star honor. Sony accepted the Expo Technical Achievement Award.
Cine Gear attendees remembered Expo founder Karl Kresser and former Local 600 President George Spiro-Dibie, who both passed away earlier this year.
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