NEW YORK (AP) — Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer who was fatally shot by Alec Baldwin, traveled far during her 42 years. Growing up in a Soviet military base, she worked in documentary filmmaking in Eastern Europe. She then studied film in Los Angeles to begin a promising career in movie-making.

Hutchins was shot with a prop gun Thursday on the set of the Western “Rust” near Santa Fe, New Mexico. According to court records, Baldwin was handed a loaded gun by an assistant director who told him that it was safe. Investigators are investigating.

Halyna Hutchins grew up on the Soviet base in the Arctic Circle and was “surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines.”
Fred Hayes via Getty Images

On her Instagram page, Hutchins identified herself as a “restless dreamer” and “adrenaline junkie.”

Recent photos include a sunrise shot in the desert, an image of her riding horseback on a day off, and one of crew members who came together to support union members. IATSE members were trying to get a new contract. They threatened to strike before an agreement was reached.

According to her website, she grew up on the Soviet base in the Arctic Circle and was “surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines.” She received a graduate degree in international journalism from Kyiv National University in Ukraine, worked on British documentary productions in Eastern Europe and graduated from the American Film Institute Conservatory in 2015. Matthew Hutchins was her husband. She has one son.

Halyna Hutchins once described herself as an “army brat” drawn to movies because “there wasn’t that much to do outside."
Halyna Hutchins once described herself as an “army brat” drawn to movies because “there wasn’t that much to do outside.”
Andriy Semenyuk/Handout via REUTERS

“She had an interesting background, and I think that made for a unique perspective on the world,” said one of her AFI teachers, Bill Dill. “She brought a wealth of experience to the movie-making process.”

In a 2019 interview with American Cinematographer, which named her one of the year’s rising stars, she described herself as an “army brat” drawn to movies because “there wasn’t that much to do outside.”

She would document herself parachuting and exploring caves, among other adventures, and through her work with British filmmakers, became “fascinated with storytelling based on real characters.”

After moving to the U.S., she took any production-assistant work she could find and explored fashion photography to learn more about the “aesthetics of lighting — how you create the mood, the feeling.” In 2013, she was accepted into a two-year program at the AFI Conservatory. The school’s chair of cinematography remembered her dedication to the craft.

Halyna Hutchins is survived by her husband, Matthew Hutchins, with whom she had a son.
Matthew Hutchins, Halyna’s husband, is the one who survives her.
Mat Hayward via Getty Images

“She was very thoughtful about the decision, and it was not an easy decision. All film schools are expensive and this was not an exception,” he said. “We were very impressed with her. I remember telling her, ‘You’re not going to have much time for your family in your first year at AFI.’ And she understood that. She was really working hard.”

Stephen Pizzello, editor-in-chief and publisher of American Cinematographer and a close friend of Hutchins’, said she had not only a “joyful spirit” but a strong sense of how to network in the movie business. She was “tireless in terms of improving her skills and being in the right places,” a regular at “industry events and parties.”

“Everybody liked her,” he said.

Before “Rust,” Halyna Hutchins' credits included the crime drama “Blindfire” and the horror film “Darlin."
Before “Rust,” Halyna Hutchins’ credits included the crime drama “Blindfire” and the horror film “Darlin.”
Andriy Semenyuk/Handout via REUTERS

Before “Rust,” her credits included the crime drama “Blindfire” and the horror film “Darlin,” whose director, Pollyanna McIntosh, posted on Instagram that she was “the most talented, in the trenches, committed wonderful artist and team mate.” Director Adam Egypt Mortimer, who worked with her on the 2020 thriller “Archenemy,” said she had a powerful sense of confidence and an inspiring openness to challenges. One day, he recalled that an actor was forced to quit and that the entire crew had to move around him.

“Halyna was excited,” said Mortimer, who recalled her asking if they would shoot the scenes “European style,” meaning that they would improvise.

Andriy Semenyuk was a Ukrainian cinematographer who first met Hutchins several years back through friends. She remembered how she had welcomed Hutchins and that she brought him along to some of her assignments. He called her a mentor with a “magnetizing” personality who stood out for her willingness to help others.

“I think the big deal about her in general, beyond being extremely talented — which is a given — is just her generous and really open personality,” he said. “In the film industry, which is super competitive, it’s not enough to have talent. It’s good to have this human, appealing personality.”

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Source: HuffPost.com.

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