AFI Establishes Scholarship in Honor of Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

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Following her tragic demise on the sets of Rust this week, the AFI has stepped in to set up a scholarship fund in memory of Halyna Hutchins.

According to Variety, the purpose of the scholarship is to “help female cinematographers pursue sustainable careers in the film business.”

Director and writer Olia Oparina, who calls Halina her closest friend, shared a statement about the scholarship.

“From the moment I sat down next to Halyna in UCLA extension’s film directing class, I knew we would be best friends,” Olia shared. “We moved to Hollywood 11 years ago — two first generation immigrants from Ukraine and Russia who didn’t know a single soul in the movie business. Instead of asking others for a seat at their table, we decided to build our own.”

“As we worked on finishing our master’s degrees, we began to find ‘our tribe’: a group of writers, producers and crew members that became our surrogate family. Together, we shot many projects — some of them short films, others feature-length films. No matter the scale of the project, Halyna always brought her passion and craftsmanship to each and every single one of them. Her clear vision and unique voice set her apart from all other cinematographers, as did her unquenchable thirst for cinematic knowledge. She was an inspiration and role model to anyone who had the fortune to work with her.”

Olia continues, “Throughout her career, she was an advocate for female DP’s and directors, familiar with the struggles women face in the entertainment industry. After overcoming many hurdles, Halyna began to get offers on big-budget films like Archenemy and Blindfire, features she was proud to lend her vision to. Her passing is a tragedy, not only for her family and friends, but also for the world of film she so loved, which has been forever deprived of her great talent.”

Halina tragically passed away after being shot by a prop gun while working on the film Rust.

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