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Mark Milsome Foundation calls for cultural change in film and TV industry

Oct 27, 2022

The 5th anniversary of Mark Milsome’s tragic death on set approaches and “Nothing has changed” says MMF’s Chair Samantha Wainstein.

As the 5th anniversary of the tragic on-set death of respected British cameraman Mark Milsome approaches on 18th November 2022, Samantha Wainstein, Chair of MMF, the charitable foundation set up in his name, has called for long overdue cultural change to protect crews working in the British film and television industry:

“Mark was unnecessarily killed whilst filming a car stunt on location in Ghana in 2017. Five years have passed during which time nothing has changed to improve crew safety – we are marking this tragic date by demanding mandatory health and safety education for all crew working in Film and TV.”

The Foundation is asking for the industry establishment, including BECTU, PACT, PGGB, and all industry guilds, to unite to create lasting change. Since its inception, MMF has had continual dialogue with crew. In 2020, it commissioned a detailed survey to gauge opinion on their working conditions and then created a Health and Safety Passport course in 2021. Whilst individual crew have responded positively to the course, as far as the established industry goes, nothing has changed.

“The powers that be can’t just treat policy on health and safety along with the wellbeing of their crews as a box-ticking exercise,” says Mark Milsome’s widow Andra. “The overall culture on sets needs to change for good. We are using the 5th anniversary as a call to action and I would like to echo the wise words of our esteemed patron, Rory Kinnear, whose own father Roy died on set: ‘No-one should die for the sake of a shot.’”

MMF will launch Black T-Week on 18th November, when film and television crews across the UK will honour their late colleague by wearing black T-shirts exclusively designed by celebrated cinematographer Benoit Delhomme. Benoit and Mark worked together on The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Theory of Everything and he has kindly lent his passion and talent to this important MMF initiative, creating a design with the simple yet powerful words, “Because Mark” and “Inspire Change”.

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The Mark Milsome Foundation was set up in 2018 to encourage and support young people wanting to enter and thrive in the film and television industry, particularly those from backgrounds who traditionally find it difficult to gain access due to lack of knowledge of the sector and lack of contacts. The cohort of MMF trainees who have successfully started working in the industry is testament to Mark’s legacy. The support the Foundation has received from major organisations, including the Association of Camera Operators, BAFTA, BSC, EON Productions, the Guild of British Camera Technicians, Mission Digital, Panavision, Arri Rental, Pinewood Studios, as well as on screen stars Emma Thompson, Daniel Craig, Eddie Redmayne, Colin Firth, Harrison Ford and most importantly, UK film and TV crew including Fabian Wagner, Andrew Dunn, Peter Robertson, James Layton, Sean Savage, Aaron Leach and Jack Plumridge, demonstrates the positive impact the Foundation is having. Inspiring, nurturing and protecting the next generation of talent is at the top of MMF’s mission list.

Mark Milsome Foundation Health & Safety course provides a SkillSet Level 2 safety passport, valid for 5 years. It takes 90 minutes, costs just £20 and all profits are gifted to the Foundation and Mark’s family. The course was created in response to a UK wide survey of film and tv crew that received close to 5000 comments and which found that current H&S education is virtually non-existent. It covers all the areas that failed Mark in Ghana, and attempts to protect and empower crew so that such accidents never occur again. The course has received widespread support and praise from all those that have taken it. Topics include Speaking Up, The Law, Working Hours, Health & Safety Abroad, Bullying and Discrimination.

The course is available here. https://www.mmfonlinetraining.com

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