While Halyna Hutchins was in New Mexico shooting Rust, a Western starring Alec Baldwin, she was shot by a loaded prop gun that contained a live round of ammunition and died at the age of 42.
The American Film Institute (AFI) has now set up a scholarship for women cinematographers after the sudden accidental death of Rust cinematographer. AFI is now accepting donations for the fund, which “aims to help female cinematographers build sustainable careers in the movie business,” according to director, writer and friend Olia Oparina.
In an Instagram post Oparina, who calls Hutchins “her best friend” and worked with Hutchins on the 2017 film “Snowbound” said, “We met 11 years ago at UCLA Extension in a directing class and instantly became friends… When no one trusted us with a feature film, Halyna and I teamed up, and made our own, for no money, with a crew of friends.”
Hutchens graduated from the AFI Conservatory in 2015 and was selected as one of American Cinematographers’ Rising Stars of 2019 as well as a cinematographer for the 21st Century Fox DP Lab in 2018. She had since carved a place for herself in a field traditionally dominated by men.
Halyna was a rising cinematographer who was making a name for herself shooting short films and indies like Darlin’ and Snowbound. The Ukraine-born Hutchins graduated from UCLA’s Professional Producing program in 2010 before graduating from AFI Conservatory.
In inaugurating the fund today AFI said, “We pledge to see that Halyna Hutchens will live on in the spirit of all who strive to see their dreams realized in stories well told.”
Oparina announced the fund in a statement, which partly reads:
“Throughout her career, she was an advocate for female DP’s and directors, familiar with the struggles women face in the entertainment industry.
After overcoming many hurdles, Halyna began to get offers on big-budget films like “Archenemy” and “Blindfire”, features she was proud to lend her vision to.
Her passing is a tragedy, not only for her family and friends, but also for the world of film she so loved, which has been forever deprived of her great talent.”
In a tweet, husband Matt Hutchins asked that anyone looking for ways to memorialize the cinematographer donate to the fund in her honor.
Donate to the Halyna Hutchins Memorial Scholarship Fund here.