Halyna Hutchins, a cinematographer considered a “rising star” in the industry, was tragically killed on set while filming Rust after actor and producer Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun.

Hutchins, 42, who was serving as the director of photography on the upcoming Western feature film, was shot around 1:50. p.m. local time on Thursday, October 21, and was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where she died of her injuries, Deadline reports. Director Joel Souza was also injured on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is being treated at Christus St. Vincent’s Regional Medical Center. The extent of the director’s injuries is not yet known.

Hutchins was a Los Angeles-based cinematography who graduated from the American Film Institute Conservatory program in 2015. The filmmaker, whose professional career seemingly started in 2012, according to her IMDB page, was credited in over 30 movies. 

Dubbed one of American Cinematographer magazine’s “rising stars” in 2019, Hutchins was originally born in Ukraine and grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle, according to her website, “surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines.” Prior to her career as a cinematographer, Hutchins was a journalist, holding a graduate degree in International Journalism from Kyiv National University in Ukraine, and worked as an investigative journalist in Europe.

“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,” Hutchins told American Cinematographer. “I was fascinated with storytelling based on real characters.” 

Haylna Hutchins DP Rust Alec Baldwin
Halyna Hutchins/Instagram

In 2018, she was named one of eight female cinematographers to be a part of the first Fox DP Lab program, sponsored by 21st Century Fox and the American Film Institute, to help female cinematographers make connections with working professionals. Rust, starring A-listers like Baldwin and Jensen Ackles, was a significant project for the filmmaker. 

“It’s hard out here for women cinematographers and this was a HUGE opportunity for her. She was so young and so talented. Halyna and I spent so much time together. She was so beautifully gracious and words cannot express how supportive she was to me,” casting director, producer and writer Sidra Smith wrote on Instagram. “God bless her beautiful heart and soul.”

Prior to Rust, Hutchins worked as a cinematographer on 2020’s Archenemy, directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer and starring Joe Manganiello. She also worked on Blindfire, a 2020 police drama, and the 2019 horror film, Darlin’, which premiered at the SXSW film festival.

“Mr. Baldwin was questioned by investigators and released,” a Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department official told Deadline. “No arrests or charges have been filed.”

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