The American Film Institute has set up a scholarship for women cinematographers after the death of “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. AFI is now accepting donations for the fund, which “aims to help female cinematographers build sustainable careers in the movie business,” according to director and writer Olia Oparina.
Oparina, who calls Hutchins “her closest friend” and worked with Hutchins on the 2017 film “Snowbound” told Variety in a statement, “From the moment I sat down next to Halyna in UCLA extension’s film directing class, I knew we would be best friends.”
“We moved to Hollywood 11 years ago — two first generation immigrants from Ukraine and Russia who didn’t know a single soul in the movie business. Instead of asking others for a seat at their table, we decided to build our own. As we worked on finishing our master’s degrees, we began to find ‘our tribe’: a group of writers, producers and crew members that became our surrogate family. Together, we shot many projects — some of them short films, others feature-length films. No matter the scale of the project, Halyna always brought her passion and craftsmanship to each and every single one of them. Her clear vision and unique voice set her apart from all other cinematographers, as did her unquenchable thirst for cinematic knowledge. She was an inspiration and role model to anyone who had the fortune to work with her.”
“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.”
Hutchins was in New Mexico shooting “Rust,” a Western starring Alec Baldwin, when she was shot by a prop gun that contained a live round of ammunition and died at the age of 42.
She 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.
Her death, which came as her career was kicking into another level of prominence, has stunned the film industry and left her family, friends and colleagues reeling.
To donate to the Halyna Hutchins Scholarship Fund, send a check to AFI with “Halyna Hutchins” in the memo or online, indicate Halyna Hutchins Scholarship Fund.