It is in great sorrow that I am writing this opinion article. However, it is with regret that I did not publicly and openly express this opinion some time ago.

Recently there was a fatal accident on a film production set in New Mexico.

A talented woman with a young son died, another was injured and a lot of people will have to live with this memory for the rest of their life.

People will now point fingers, lawyers will litigate, officials will investigate, producers will deny and insurance companies will sidestep culpability. The truth will only come with first acknowledging the problem. We are all responsible.

Crew members must not tolerate unsafe conditions. Producers must acknowledge the fact that a large part of their motivation is to make money. We must never represent ourselves as knowing more than we actually do.

This accident was a tragedy.

Making a film is a risky occupation. The hours are long, the equipment and activity are dangerous, and safety protocols can be overlooked. It is of fundamental importance that all participants are trained adequately and that younger personnel have been mentored by seasoned and experienced professionals. There must be an acknowledgement of safety on a movie set, regardless of monetary or time restraints.

We must train production employees. We must take our work seriously. We must create the fantasy of a scripted story with zero tolerance for ignoring safety protocols. There is no room for complacency. If this is not done, our state will no longer be known as a place to make movies.

The solution will necessitate us all working together — the Film Office, the studios, the producers, the unions, the training programs and the state of New Mexico.

Alton Walpole is a native New Mexican, worked in New Mexico film industry for 40 years, primarily as a unit production manager.

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