The husband of late cinematographer Halyna Hutchins announced the formation of an American Film Institute (AFI) scholarship fund in his wife’s name early this morning. On Twitter, Matt Hutchins, Halyna’s husband, has asked “anyone seeking to honor her memory” to donate to the AFI’s Halyna Hutchins Scholarship Fund, which supports aspiring female cinematographers.
The 42-year-old cinematographer was killed on the set of the western Rust on Thursday night in New Mexico after a prop gun fired by Alec Baldwin was accidentally discharged. The incident also left director Joel Souza hospitalized with injuries.
Late Friday night, Matt Hutchins wrote about his wife’s death on Twitter. “Halyna inspired us all with her passion and vision, and her legacy is too meaningful to encapsulate in words,” he wrote. “Our loss is enormous, and we ask that the media please respect my family’s privacy as we process our grief. We thank everyone for sharing images and stories of her life.”
Hours later, Hutchins announced that “friends and mentors” at AFI set up a scholarship fund in Halyna’s name to “support aspiring female cinematographers.” “Thank you to Halyna’s friends and mentors at AFI for establishing a scholarship to honor her memory and support aspiring female cinematographers. Anyone seeking to honor her memory, please direct your giving to this fund,” Matt Hutchins tweeted.
Additionally, the International Cinematographers Guild, IATSE Local 600, launched a GoFundMe page for Hutchins’ family. In less than 48 hours, the campaign raised more than $148,000. They wrote:
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. Halyna is survived by her husband, Matthew, and her 9-year-old son. In memory of Halyna, Local 600 has set up this GoFundMe page to help raise funds for her family at this difficult time.
In his first comments since the accident, Rust director Souza said he was “gutted by the loss” of Hutchins. “My thoughts are with her family at this most difficult time,” Souza said in a statement to Deadline. “I am humbled and grateful by the outpouring of affection we have received from our filmmaking community, the people of Santa Fe, and the hundreds of strangers who have reached out…It will surely aid in my recovery.”
The tragedy, once again, renewed calls for better working conditions for crews on film and television sets—less than one week after IATSE reached an agreement with and averted a strike and subsequent shutdown. In the days since the incident, numerous reports regarding the unsafe working conditions on Rust, including the usage of nonunion crew members and lax safety protocols, were made public.
Yesterday, the LA Times reported that in the hours leading up to Halyna’s death, six Rust crew members walked off set in protest of hazardous working conditions. One source told the Times that safety protocols, including gun inspection, were not followed on set. According to IATSE, the prop gun contained a “live round.” The accidental shooting occurred six hours after union crewmembers left.