Halyna Hutchins, the director of photography who died when actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on a movie set, has been remembered as “an incredible artist”.
Hutchins had worked as a cinematographer on the set of Rust.
American cinema magazine had named her one of its rising stars in 2019 and previously worked on the 2020 independent superhero film Archenemy.
Archenemy director Adam Egypt Mortimer told BBC News that the fact that she was going to die on a set was “truly unbelievable.”
She said: “Halyna was an amazing artist who was just starting a career, I think people were really starting to notice.
“The fact that she would have been killed on a set in an accident like this is unfathomable. It just seems inconceivable.”
I am so sad that I lost Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set. He was a brilliant talent, absolutely dedicated to art and cinema. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/vcdFqHsGA0
– Adam Egypt Mortimer (@adamegypt) October 22, 2021
Hutchins was born in Ukraine in 1979 and grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle.
Her website said she grew up “surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines”.
She entered the film industry after earning a bachelor’s degree in international journalism from Kiev State University. After working on documentaries in the UK, she moved to Los Angeles, where she graduated from the American Film Institute’s conservatory in 2015.
- Alec Baldwin shoots a woman with a prop pistol
He began making his way into Hollywood, with credits in films including Blindfire, which he described as a “racially-motivated crime drama” written and directed by Mike Nell.
He also worked on the horror film Darlin ‘, directed by Pollyanna McIntosh, which premiered at the SXSW film festival 2019.
Hutchins’ most recent Instagram post on Tuesday showed her riding a horse on set.
Adam Egypt Mortimer added: “The level of protocol and security we tend to have on any production of any size, when it comes to handling guns, guns, is so complex that the fact that a gun exploded and killed Halyna is both shocking from an industry point of view and utterly tragic from the point of view of getting to know this extraordinary artist who is suddenly no longer with us. “
He talked about his “integrity of wanting to make movies” and recalled a day working with her when the lead actor couldn’t work because he wasn’t well.
“We should have come up with something brand new that day,” he said. “I said, ‘We’re going to write something new.’ She was so excited, she said, ‘Oh, we’re going to shoot European style.’
“It was becoming a challenge, working with your surroundings to transcend circumstances and turn them into art. That’s the thing I loved so much about her, seeing her grow as an artist.
“It was just wonderful to be able to collaborate with someone like that.”
The American Film Institute Conservatory also paid tribute, publishing: “Words alone cannot capture the loss of someone so dear to the AFI community.”
As is deeply true in the art of filmmaking, words alone cannot capture the loss of someone so dear to the AFI community. At AFI, we are committed to seeing that Halyna Hutchins will continue to live in the spirit of all who strive to see their dreams come true in well-told stories. pic.twitter.com/zhZphl81Us
– Conservatory of the AFI (@Conservatorio of the AFI) October 22, 2021
American Cinematographer, a monthly magazine published by the American Society of Cinematographers, interviewed Hutchins in 2019.
She explained why she moved from journalism to film, saying, “My transition from journalism began when I was working on British film productions in Eastern Europe, traveling with crews to remote locations and seeing how the cinematographer worked.
“I was fascinated by the storytelling based on real characters.”
“Safety on set”
Her early childhood as a self-described “army brat” meant she was “already a movie fan because ‘there wasn’t much to do outside,'” the magazine added.
He said he gained “hands-on shooting experience by documenting his forays into extreme sports such as skydiving and cave exploration.”
After his death, the magazine paid tribute to the director, stating, “We are deeply saddened by the news from Santa Fe regarding the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. On-set safety should always be of primary concern to everyone, especially when working with firearms.”
Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said his consulate in San Francisco is clarifying the circumstances of his death and is working with US law enforcement.
“The consuls are also making contact with the Ukrainian woman’s relatives in order to provide the necessary legal and consular assistance,” added BBC News Ukraine.
Alec Baldwin shoots a woman with a prop pistol
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