AFI Honors ‘Rust’ Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins With Scholarship Fund for Women Filmmakers

Hutchins was killed Thursday on the film’s New Mexico set

The American Film Institute said Friday that it is establishing a new scholarship fund for women filmmakers in honor of cinematographer and AFLI alum Halyna Hutchins, who was killed Thursday on the set of the film “Rust.”

Hutchins was killed by a prop gun fired by star Alec Baldwin, an event that is still under investigation by local law enforcement.

Details about the scholarship fund have not yet been made public, but AFI is now accepting donations. The fund’s establishment was announced in a statement by Hutchins’ friend, Olia Oparina. Read her full statement below.

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 eleven 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 masters 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.

To honor her legacy, the AFI Conservatory and her family set up the “Halyna Hutchins Scholarship Fund”, which aims to help female cinematographers build sustainable careers in the movie business.

If you would like to support the cause, feel free to send a check to AFI with her name in the memo. Alternatively, you can also donate online through AFI website but you have to put in a memo “Halyna Hutchins Scholarship Fund.”