Due to the highly complex nature of the filmmaking process, there are numerous OSHA Safety Regulations to keep people safe from physical injuries on set. But what is frequently overlooked are the equally important Workplace Safety issues of sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation.
The film industry as a whole is working diligently to implement substantive reforms, but here in New Mexico we have certain unique challenges. At any given time as many as two-thirds of our productions may be filming in remote locations with potentially no cellphone access when things go wrong. Also, here as elsewhere, actors and crew may be pressured about, or discouraged from, reporting abuse when it occurs.
Local and national headlines and the #metoo movement are shining a stark spotlight on the absence of substantive guidelines to safeguard vulnerable talent and crew members from not only sexually abusive practices, but abuses of power in regards to other forms of set safety as well.
The Safe Sets® Initiative was founded in 2017 to ensure the film industry evolves from Recommended Best Practices to Standardized Industry Regulations, and that we never lose another promising and talented professional like Halyna Hutchins again!
ABOUT FOUNDER LARA DALE
Lara Dale is a Stage Actress, Activist, Foley Artist and Documentary Filmmaker. Born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and raised in a large bohemian arts family in Corrales and Albuquerque, she studied classical music, theater and dance from an early age, before moving to New York City in the 80s to study acting, filmmaking and performance art.
Lara is also a survivor of severe sexual harassment that took place on an Anasazi Ruin in Northern New Mexico. After leaving New York City in 1989, she landed a coveted speaking part with name actors in a Hollywood sci-fi thriller shot in various remote locations in and around Santa Fe. At first she was excited as it meant she would finally get her S.A.G. Card and be able to move to Los Angeles in order to pursue a professional career in film and television.
Under increasing pressure to do a nude scene that wasn’t in the script, she sought to negotiate with the director who made it clear that he intended to force her to comply. When she tried to leave the set, she was chased around the mesa by the entire tech crew, who then barricaded the exit. Barely able to flee down a narrow dirt road with a 200' foot cliff drop, she managed to escape, but was subsequently harassed, intimidated and blacklisted by the film industry and eventually had to leave New Mexico.
Part of her story is featured in the pioneering documentary "Brainwashed: Sex, Camera, Power" by the famed feminist and filmmaker Nina Menkes, which premiered at Sundance on January 22, 2022.
After many years living in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, Lara returned to New Mexico in 2006 and became involved in the film industry renaissance. While exploring the different aspects of independent film, she apprenticed with the Emmy Award winning Foley Artist Ellen Heuer of Wildfire Post from 2009 until 2013 when Lara opened FootVox Studio. In light of the RUST tragedy, she is also working diligently to create foundational reforms and protections for vulnerable talent and crew shooting on remote locations.