Responding quickly to the on-set tragedy that took the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchens yesterday, the AFI has established a memorial scholarship in her name for female cinematographers. Hutchens graduated from the AFI Conservatory in 2015 and was selected as one of American Cinematographer’s 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.
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.” The institute has created a page for those who wish to donate.
Hutchens’ friend and frequent collaborator, director-writer-producer Olia Oparina, expressed the spirit behind the scholarship when she posted a tribute to her friend online tonight, who she says worked for more than a decade to establish herself.
“Why did it take so long for such an undeniably talented and charismatic person to get there?” Oparina wrote. “Why does this industry take forever to notice a talent?”
She continued: “We worked together, dreamt about big movies, and always believed in each other. Halyna was dedicated to her work; she never complained, never said she was tired or unhappy. Her eyes shined with enthusiasm and passion for every single project she’s worked on.”
Hutchins was killed while working Thursday on the New Mexico set of Rust, where star Alec Baldwin was holding a prop gun that misfired, striking Hutchins and director Joel Souza, who is recovering.
Director Adam Egypt Mortimer, who worked alongside Hutchins on 2020 action film Archenemy, called her “a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film.”
Archenemy star Joe Manganiello said, “I’m in shock. I was so lucky to have had Halyna Hutchins as my DP on Archenemy. An incredible talent & great person.”
Originally from Ukraine, Hutchins grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle. She held a graduate degree in International Journalism from Kyiv National University in Ukraine and previously worked as an investigative journalist with British documentary productions in Europe.