New AFI Scholarship Honors Halyna Hutchins

She graduated from film school in 2015
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2021 3:04 PM CDT
New AFI Scholarship Honors Halyna Hutchins
Russ Backers, a stagehand and welder in IATSE Local 33, lays down his union pin for the late cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a candlelight vigil for her, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Burbank, Calif.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

A new scholarship for women cinematographers has been founded to to honor Halyna Hutchins. The 42-year-old graduated from the American Film Institute's prestigious AFI Conservatory film school in 2015 and she was considered a rising star in the industry before she was killed on the set of Rust last week. The AFI says it is now accepting donations for the AFI Conservatory scholarship, which will ensure that "Halyna Hutchins will live on in the spirit of all who strive to see their dreams realized in stories well told." "As is profoundly true in the art of cinematography, words alone cannot capture the loss of one so dear to the AFI community," the nonprofit said in a statement, per NPR.

Director and writer Olia Oparinan says the fund "aims to help female cinematographers build sustainable careers in the movie business." Oparinan tells Variety that Hutchins was her closest friend—and she knew they would be best friends as soon as Hutchins sat next to her in a UCLA film directing class. "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." She says Hutching was just beginning to get offers for big-budget films, and "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."

Hutchin, who was killed when Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun on the New Mexico film set that turned out to be loaded, is survived by her husband and their 9-year-old son. At a Saturday vigil in Albuquerque, John Lindley, national president of the International Cinematographers Guild, read out a message from husband Matt Hutchins, who said he had been overwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathy. " Please take time to remember her, and we will all work together to honor her memory and emulate her determination and her creativity," he said, per the Santa Fe New Mexican. A GoFundMe fundraiser started by the union has raised more than $200,000 for Hutchins' family. (More Alec Baldwin stories.)

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