The recent film set tragedy on Alec Baldwin’s “Rust” saw cinematographer Halyna Hutchins shot and killed showing the benefit of self-awareness to Australian filmmakers.
Young West Australian Filmmaker, Actor, and Author Sita Bennett, who is co-Director and co-Founder of ‘Lightdance Productions’ together with brother Frank Bennett, said the horror event taught them lessons about the industry they didn’t grasp in film school.
“To assume someone else has checked everything on your behalf is dangerous on busy, high-pressure sets when one distraction can lead someone off task and forget to communicate.”
“It shouldn’t happen, but at the same time, responsibility for simply checking whether a weapon is loaded, should never be placed in the hands of another,” Ms. Bennett said.
“It’s a reminder that we should be conscious and aware of our environment. My key takeaway is to never assume the crew has taken safety precautions for us. Always self-check.”
A lesson to take for creative minds
As an up-and-coming director in the Australian film industry, her brother Frank Bennett said it occurred to him that not only did self-awareness hold benefit for safety, but it allowed creative minds on set to get the most out of every individual moment.
“Someone’s level of clarity, consciousness, and ability to self-check, and take care of those around them is possibly the biggest value to us on a film set. It means we don’t have to spend as much time micromanaging everyone and use more of our attention for creativity.”
“Film is play and a vessel to express the inexpressible. Onset, collaboration is fun and exciting and gives the actors a lot of freedom to shape their character and improvise.”
“We are passionate about the experience of film making, and our attention is always more on being present and connected to each moment of production, than the end product.”
There has been media debate that the fact the film was low budget may have been disadvantageous and held safety concerns. Ms. Bennett said this was not necessarily the case.
“I think the exciting thing about modern filmmaking is that you don’t need a big budget, or excessive visual effects, props and dangerous scenes, to explore an interesting human story.”
“We are interested in exploring esoteric and philosophical themes and ideas about the nature of existence to be done in more creative ways, with a little imagination on our side.”
Ms. Bennett is creative in a number of ways
She has also recently published her novel called She who Rose from Ashes, an uplifting page-turner, as a tool for young people suffering from mental health concerns.
Ms. Bennett, who is also a yoga teacher, wrote her empowering fantastical adventure novel, inspired by timeless wisdom from ancient Eastern cultures, about a smart, sensitive and determined young woman on a quest for truth and freedom in an otherwise chaotic world.
The book explores tenacity, the power and reward of pursuing a path of heart and truth.
Relationships between characters are complex and reflect reality, and readers are also rewarded by following the travels of an outcast who has been isolated as a result of her dark past, who finds her tribe and sense of belonging.
“All of my work, as an author and filmmaker, centers around themes of self-discovery, transformation and healing, expressing to young adults and teens that it’s okay to admit fear and uncertainty and that revealing vulnerability is a courageous choice, not a weakness.”