Who Was Halyna Hutchins, the ‘Rockstar Cinematographer’ Killed at 43 by a Prop Gun on ‘Rust’ Set?

Ukraine-born director of photography was a “brilliant talent,” “Archenemy” director Adam Egypt Mortimer said

halyna hutchins
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Halyna Hutchins, the award-winning cinematographer killed Thursday when actor-producer Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun on the New Mexico set of the indie Western film “Rust,” was a 43-year-old “rockstar cinematographer” and rising star in the industry.

According to law enforcement statements, Hutchins was shot around 1:50 p.m. local time Thursday and died of her injuries after she was airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. The film’s director, Joel Souza, was also injured and hospitalized in the incident, Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Juan Rios said.

Born in Ukraine, Hutchins earned a degree in international journalism from Kyiv National University before moving to London to work on British documentary films. Later, she moved to Los Angeles and graduated from the American Film Institute in 2015 and was named a “rising star” by American Cinematographer magazine in 2019.

Her director of photography credits include work on the indies “Snowbound” (2017), “Darlin’” (2019), the Joe Manganiello sci-fi drama “Archenemy” (2019), the Brian Geraghty cop drama “Blindfire” (2020) and “The Mad Hatter” (2021). She also worked on multiple episodes of the BET+ series “A Luv Tale: The Series.”

In 2019, she won the cinematography award from the English Riviera Film Festival for her work on the short film “Treacle.”

“Archenemy” director Adam Egypt Mortimer tweeted his shock: “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.”

“I’m in shock. I was so lucky to have had Halyna Hutchins as my DP on Archenemy,” Manganiello tweeted. “An incredible talent & great person. I can’t believe this could happen in this day and age… gunfire from a prop gun could kill a crew member? What a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to her family.”

The investigation into the deadly incident is ongoing, the sheriff’s department said; no charges have been filed.

Other tributes poured in to Hutchins, whom friends described as a “rockstar cinematographer.”