As news breaks that Alec Baldwin has been acquitted of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins, the late camerawoman’s family and friends will remember her life and career.
Baldwin starred in a western film called rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico, when a gun he was holding was fired, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joul Souza, police said. Hutchins was 42 years old.
While a lawsuit filed by Hutchin’s family alleges that the actor “ruthlessly shot and killed her,” Baldwin, 64, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing on the set. The actor claimed he was told the gun was “cold,” meaning it contained no live ammunition, and that it fired when the gun was cocked without him pulling the trigger.
On Thursday, Baldwin’s attorneys announced that all charges against him had been dropped. The decision came weeks before he was due to appear in court.
Baldwin, 64, was one of three cast and crew members charged in the October 2021 accidental shooting.
First assistant director David Halls has agreed to plead guilty to charges of negligent use of a deadly weapon. The film’s gunsmith, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, was also charged with involuntary manslaughter. She has pleaded not guilty.
Hutchins was born Halyna Anatoliivna Androsovych in 1979 in the Ukrainian village of Horodets. Raised on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle, she later attended Kyiv National University and graduated with a degree in international journalism. She then pursued her first career working as an investigative journalist for British documentary film productions in Eastern Europe.
Hutchins first became interested in film while living on the military base. After working as an investigative journalist, she decided to move to Los Angeles to focus on filmmaking. Initially, she worked in various roles as a production assistant and as a grip electric while working on short film shoots.
In 2005, Hutchins married her American husband Matthew. She later gave birth to son Andros who is now nine years old.
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In Los Angeles, Hutchins attended the American Film Institute Conservatory for a two-year master’s program, which she graduated in 2015. Hiddenwhich was made with director Rayan Farzad, has screened at various film festivals including the LA Shorts Fest.
After that, she worked on more than 30 feature films, short films and TV miniseries, including the movies nemesis, Darling, Blindfire and The Mad Hatter, in various roles such as cameraman and associate producer.
In 2018, three years before her death, Hutchins was one of the first eight female cinematographers to enroll in the Fox DP Lab program, created to improve opportunities for female cinematographers entering the industry. In 2019, she was named one of the “10 Emerging Cinematographers Making a Name” by the American Society of Cinematographers.
Aside from her impressive film career, Hutchins was an activist and passionate about workers’ rights. She was an advocate for women directors as she was familiar with overcoming the struggles faced by women in the industry. She was a member of the International Cinematographer’s Guild and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, unions representing crews working in the entertainment industry in the United States and Canada. insider reported that prior to her death, Hutchin had protested unsafe working conditions.
After her death in 2021, the American Film Inside honored her legacy by establishing a grant for women in film with the Halyna Hutchins Memorial Scholarship Fund for Women Cinematographers. The fund “aims to help female cinematographers build sustainable careers in the film business,” according to Hutchin’s close friend, director Olia Oparina. In an interview, Oparina called Hutchins her “closest friend.” The couple collaborated on the 2017 thriller Snowed in.
“From the moment I sat down next to Halyna in UCLA’s film directing class, I knew we could be best friends,” Oparina saiddiversity.
“We moved to Hollywood 11 years ago – two first-generation immigrants from Ukraine and Russia who didn’t know a soul in the film business.
“Rather than asking others for a seat at their table, we chose to build our own. As we worked to complete our masters degrees, we began to find ‘our tribe’: a group of writers, producers and crew members who became our surrogate family.”
Oparina praised Hutchins for always bringing her “passion” and “craftsmanship” to every project she worked on, no matter the size. She said Hutchins has a “unique voice” in the industry that “sets her apart from all other cinematographers.”
Oparina said Hutchins’ legacy is an “inspiration” to anyone lucky enough to work with her. She concluded, “Her death is a tragedy, not only for her family and friends, but for the film world that loved her so much and which has been forever robbed of her immense talent.”
Hutchins is survived by her son Andros, nine, and her husband Matthew, 38.