Part of Andres Lugo’s work as the 2018 Sarah Jones Opportunity recipient was a stint as a camera utility on the CW series “Legacies.”
That assignment is fitting, since anybody who takes the opportunity bearing Jones’ name is carrying on the legacy of the camera assistant who lost her life in a senseless filming accident five years ago.
Sim, Warner Brothers, Local 600 and the Mayor’s office of Atlanta jointly created the Sarah Jones Opportunity Award in 2014 to honor Jones and to open up a doorway to applicants who might not have a direct pathway into the industry. Lugo is the program’s sixth recipient.
A native of Mexico who has pursued a nonlinear path into the industry, Lugo is certainly conscious of the responsibility that the opportunity carries. Where Jones’ legacy is concerned, he hopes he can measure up.
“I’m passionate, friendly, respectful and have a strong work ethic,” said Lugo. “I don’t know if I am like her, but if I can do something for the industry, and you allow me to be part of it, hopefully my work will speak for itself.”
Lugo developed his passion for film and storytelling beginning at age 17. He considered pursuing a career as an actor and majored in communications sciences in college. Assigned to create a short film in one of his classes, Lugo developed a fascination with the creation of images and devoted himself to camera. With a group of filmmaker friends, he co-founded the organization Cine Colectivo Guanajuato A. C. as a means of fostering their interest in independent filmmaking. In addition to their Monday night viewings and movie discussions, the group helped Lugo develop his skills and cultivate professional opportunities to help launch his career.
When he came to America, Lugo took non-industry jobs doing everything from waiting tables, to cleaning car batteries. Focused on pursuing his career in film, he eventually made connections that led him to AGANAR Media. On the second season of “SuperLatina with Gaby Natale” in 2015, Lugo was a one-man band, doing everything from co-directing, DP-ing, editing and working in post-production. The show won a daytime Emmy Award.
His focus now is squarely on camera. After moving from Miami to Atlanta, he applied for the Sarah Jones Opportunity and considers himself blessed to be accepted.
“The experience has been so great, so much learning,” Lugo said. “I’ve met people I never imagined I could be next to.”
Lugo credits fellow Georgia-based Local 600 members like Jesse Eagle and Clyde Bryan for their advice and mentorship. The process of joining the Guild has coincided with getting his citizenship.
“I have joined the union as a utility,” Lugo said. “This is a whole new world for me.”
February 20 marked the fifth anniversary of Jones’ death. Jones was one of several crew members on the film “Midnight Rider” who were on a train bridge spanning a river near Jesup, Ga. When a freight train unexpectedly came along, the crew attempted to scramble to get off the bridge, but Jones was struck and killed. The accident drew industry-wide condemnation and a call for greater oversight in the arena of safety.
Jones’ family filed suit against Film Allman, the producers, as well as CSX Transportation and Rayonier, the operators of an adjacent pulp mill. A Savannah jury awarded the family $11.2 million with a finding that CSX bore 35% of the responsibility for the crash. On January 30, it was reported that Jones’ family had reached a confidential settlement with CSX.