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Remembering DP Halyna Hutchins 1979-2021

Mar 8, 2024

With news this week that Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the tragic death of Halyna Hutchins on set in November 2021, we pay tribute to the immensely talented cinematographer.

Hutchins graduated from the AFI conservatory in 2015 and quickly established a track record of successful narrative features . She was selected as one of American Cinematographer’s Rising Stars of 2019.

In 2018, she was one of the first eight female cinematographers participating in the Fox DP Lab programme, which was established to provide greater opportunities for women cinematographers.

Her work on Adam Egypt Mortimer’s art house superhero action film Archenemy, starring Joe Manganiello, premiered at Beyond Fest 2020 and was in official competition at the Sitges International Film Festival, receiving a nomination for Best Motion Picture.

This photo provided by Jack Caswell shows director of photography Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Archenemy” on Dec. 17, 2019, in Los Angeles. Hutchins was fatally shot by Alec Baldwin Thursday on the New Mexico set of the western film “Rust.” (Jack Caswell via AP)

Originally from Ukraine, Halyna grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines. 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.

Halyna’s other work also included Blindfire, racially charged cop drama written and directed by Mike Nell starring Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker, TNT’s The Alienist) and Sharon Leal (Supergirl, Instinct),winner of Best Crime Drama at the Houston International Film Festival, 2020.

Rocked by the tragic news, tributes to Hutchins poured in from across the film industry. 

In a statement, the International Cinematographer’s Guild said Ms Hutchins’ death was “devastating news” and “a terrible loss”.

Actor Joe Manganiello, who worked with Hutchins on Archenemy, wrote on Instagram: “I woke up to the messages and read the news and I am in shock. I was so lucky to have had Halyna Hutchins as my DP on Archenemy.

Actor Elijah Wood was also paid tribute, tweeting: “Absolutely horrifying and devastating news about cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins. My heart goes out to her family.”

Archenemy director Adam Egypt Mortimer described her Hutchins as “a brilliant talent”.

He wrote: “I’m so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set. She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film.”

A memorial scholarship has been established in Halyna’s name at the American Film Institute Conservatory.

Hutchins’ unnecessary death as well as previous tragedies on set have become part of a larger industry wide call to address pervasive safety issues, and many notable representatives of the film industry have made statements. 

Richard Crudo ASC, president of the American Society of Cinematographers said as part of a larger statement, “As directors of photography, we have always been responsible for the safety of our crews, and it is incumbent upon us to find ways to be more decent and caring not only to them, but also to everyone we know.”

Cinematography World pays tribute to Halyna Hutchins and hopes that we never see these circumstances repeated. Our hearts go out to her family, friends and all those affected by this awful tragedy.

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