Family, Friends Pay Tribute to Cinematographer Killed on Hollywood Movie Set

Family and friends gathered in Hollywood Saturday to pay their respects to cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, who was killed Thursday following a shooting incident on the set of the Alec Baldwin film “Rust” in New Mexico.

A chapter of the International Cinematographers Guild is raising funds in memory of Hutchins, who is one of the guild’s members. The ICG Local 600, based in Hollywood, launched a GoFundMe page for Hutchins on Friday afternoon.

“Local 600 mourns the passing of Halyna Hutchins, a Director of Photography who died from injuries sustained on the set of ‘Rust’ in New Mexico, on Thursday, October 21,” a statement on the page said.

“Halyna is survived by her husband, Matthew, and her 9-year-old son,” it continued. “In memory of Halyna, Local 600 has set up this GoFundMe page to help raise funds for her family at this difficult time. We encourage you to donate if you can.”

As of Saturday morning, the campaign has raised over $81,600.

Additionally, a candlelight vigil has been scheduled to take place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Saturday evening, as seen on the Instagram Story of fellow ICG Local 600 member Lane Luper.

On Thursday, authorities responded to an incident at the Bonanza Creek Ranch set of “Rust” around 1:50 p.m. local time.

Upon further investigation, the sheriff’s department learned that Hutchins and director Joel Souza, 48, were “shot when a prop firearm was discharged” by Baldwin, 63.

An assistant director had unwittingly handed Baldwin a loaded weapon and told him it was safe to use in the moments before the actor fatally shot the director of photography, according to court records released Friday.

According to a search warrant filed in a Santa Fe court, the assistant director announced the weapon was a “cold gun.” However, the gun had been loaded with live rounds, according to court records. When Baldwin pulled the trigger on the set, he struck cinematographer Hutchins, as well as Souza.

Hutchins was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she died from her injuries, according to the sheriff’s department. Souza was also taken to a hospital for treatment.

“There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours. I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation,” Baldwin wrote on Twitter. “My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”

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So far, no charges have been filed. The investigation into the incident remains ongoing.

Just days before the incident, Baldwin expressed his support for a potential IATSE strike to improve working conditions for crew members. In a video shared on his Instagram on Tuesday, Baldwin said, “I want to say to the people in IATSE, do what you need to do.”

Halyna Hutchins’ former professor calls Alec Baldwin shooting ‘malfeasance’

An American Film Institute (AFI) professor who taught Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer who was fatally shot on the set of Alec Baldwin’s Western “Rust” Thursday, said the situation was “such an avoidable tragedy.”

Stephen Lighthill, chair of the department of cinematography at AFI, said measures should have been taken that would have made such a tragedy impossible.

“I worked in crime drama for many years as a cinematographer and working with armorers and prop people, we never had any accidents of any kind,” Lighthill said. “We all know the protocols that should be followed and if those protocols are followed there are no mishaps.”

“Somebody didn’t do something,” he added.

A search warrant obtained Friday said that an assistant director unknowingly handed a loaded weapon to Baldwin and indicated that it was safe to use.

Lighthill, who is also the president of the American Society of Cinematographers, said there is no reason the fatal shooting should have happened.

“You can easily, in post production, make a prop gun make like it’s firing a noise or a blast; it’s cheap. We do it all the time,” Lighthill said. “So to have a live weapon on set is just completely unnecessary.”

“I don’t want to say there should only be rubber guns on set,” Lighthill added, acknowledging that sometimes for a closeup, the real thing is necessary.

“But really,” he continued. “There should only be rubber guns on set for 90 percent of the time.”

Lighthill said that there are safety laws in place to prevent similar situations. He said everyone in the cinematography union carries a safety passport showing they went through a series of safety lectures and training sessions around the use of anything from scaffolds and ladders to explosions to chemicals.

He added that there needs to be accountability.

“You know it’s malfeasance, basically, right? If I take a drink and go get behind the wheel of a car and I hit somebody and they’re injured or they die, I’ve committed a crime,” Lighthill said.

He emphasized that he’s not accusing anyone of trying to hurt someone else in a premeditative way.

Lighthill first met Hutchins when she began volunteering for productions with AFI before she applied. He then interviewed her for her enrollment.

“One of the things that impressed us was the fact that, as a mother of a 5-year-old boy [at the time], she was willing to go back to school and study,” Lighthill said.

After her graduation, she was recognized by the institute’s magazine as a Rising Star.

“Any loss of life is to be mourned and to be avoided. In Halyna’s case, she was a really, really great person,” Lighthill said. “Very talented and just super motivated.”

“I hope a really thorough investigation takes place and whoever did this pays the penalty,” Lighthill added.

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