“Storytelling and Gun Safety” Panel at Sundance 2024

Photos by Local 600 Still Photographer Tobin Yelland

February 14, 2024
Share This Post

The death of Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust in 2021 is the latest in a long running stream of tragedies due to the mishandling of firearms on set and spurred a full-throated response from the industry. After the horrific tragedy, Local 600 banded together with the rest of the Hollywood Locals and the IATSE in support for California Senator Cortese’s bill establishing a Safety on Set pilot program that would require productions receiving tax incentives to be staffed with a qualified safety advisor. The California production tax incentive bill incorporated that language and now includes provisions regulating firearm licensing and training as well as banning the use of live ammunition except under very specific conditions. Additionally, Local 600’s Safety Committee produced a comprehensive video outlining safe firearms procedures on set that’s a “must see” for every crew member. You can watch it here: Safe Procedures for the Use of Firearms On Set (1/17/2022) on Vimeo.  Our Safety Committee has been providing valuable feedback to the Industry Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee on the new Safety Pass firearms training and update the relevant firearm Safety Bulletins.

Kris Brown, President of The Brady Foundation. Read more about Brady here.

The Brady Foundation, named after former White House Press Secretary James Brady, who was permanently disabled as a result of the Ronald Regan assignation attempt, is committed to the concept that changing our culture’s attitude toward gun violence is key to better laws. They took a global view of gun violence as a cultural problem that can be addressed by filmmakers in their panel “Storytelling and Gun Safety: Changing the Narrative to Save Lives” at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.

Moderator Richard Rushfield alongside Producer Laura Lewis, Actor/Filmmaker Clark Gregg, U.S. Congressman FL-10 Rep. Maxwell Frost, and Producer Jelani Johnson.

“We’ve seen the pivotal role Hollywood can play in combating some of our country’s toughest public health issues, from promoting seatbelts to preventing drunk driving and smoking,” said Chris Brown, President of Brady. “With guns now the number one killer of kids in America we need to flip the script. We must shift the cultural narrative around guns from that of glorification and personal safety to a more balanced view of the inherent dangers of firearms and an understanding of safe gun ownership.”

“Hollywood has the unique ability to reach all Americans where they are,” said actor/filmmaker Clark Gregg. “Not every American is watching the news, but nearly everyone watches films and TV shows. As storytellers, especially those who handle guns on screen, we wield the power to influence norms and beliefs, and we have a responsibility to use that power to illustrate responsible firearm ownership.”

The discussion drew a standing room only audience and filled its 90-minute timeslot. The topic is difficult and complex. “I grew up with Clint Eastwood blowing guys away. It didn’t make me want to do that,” said Gregg. “I don’t know that our media is much different from the media in other countries, but our culture is very different.” Panelist U.S. Representative Maxwell Frost, FL-10, pointed out the manipulated narratives driven by the lobbyists for gun manufacturers. The possibilities of finding alternative ways to keep up the action against bad guys while shying away from fatal results, like the use of stun guns in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., drew attention to how creativity works to change the dialog about responsible gun ownership and the consequences of reckless gun use. Sundance filmmakers left ready to take on the challenge.

Recent Posts

Local 600 @ NAB Show 2024 (Photo Gallery)

April 17, 2024

Local 600 and ICG Magazine hosted two panels and a member reception at this year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas. Thank you to all those […]

Local 600 Camera Bootcamp (Photo Gallery)

April 9, 2024

IATSE Local 600 and the Massachusetts Production Coalition put on the Camera Bootcamp program on March 30, dedicated to enhancing educational opportunities in the field. […]

Georgia Film Day 2024 (Photo Gallery)

March 21, 2024

Last week, Georgia Production Partnership and state Rep. Long Tran (D) co-hosted Georgia Film Day in Atlanta to highlight the significance of the TV and […]

Scroll to Top