Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins leaves a lasting legacy behind – The Ticker


Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died on October 21 at the age of 42 on the set of “Rust” when a propeller pistol was unloaded. She has lived a life defined by her passion for her craft, and her credits include the superhero film “Archenemy”, the horror films “Darlin ‘” and “The Mad Hatter” and the “racially charged crime drama” “Blindfire”. His journey to cinema has crossed continents and careers.

In an interview with the American filmmaker for his 2019 Rising Star List, Hutchins, a native Ukrainian self-identified as a “child of the military” who grew up on an arctic military base she described on her website as “surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines,” said her appreciation for the films initially arose from the fact that “there wasn’t much to do outside.”

Hutchins studied economics at Agrarian University in Ukraine before obtaining a graduate degree in international journalism from Kyiv National University. Although she had some experience filming herself participating in extreme sports such as skydiving and cave exploration, her time as an investigative journalist was her first professional introduction to cinematography.

“I was fascinated by storytelling based on real characters,” Hutchins said of her time traveling with film crews and observing them on British documentaries in Eastern Europe.

This interest in the narrative potential of the camera led her to move to Los Angeles where she sought any production assistant job she could. While progressing towards electrical handling, a position involving both setting up lighting and camera-related editing, and filming small short films, she also became involved in the photography of fashion, which helped her understand “the aesthetics of lighting – how you create the mood, the feeling.

In Los Angeles, Hutchins met Bob Primes, a director of photography and two-time Emmy winner, who encouraged her to apply to the American Film Institute Conservatory where he was a professor. Hutchins studied there from 2013 to 2015.

The faculty had emphasized both his tenacity and his creativity. “He was an extraordinarily determined person to begin his career as a working parent,” Stephen Lighthill, president of the American Film Institute Conservatory’s cinematography program and president of the American Society of Cinematographers, told Time.

“She was one of the most innovative students I have ever had there.”

Hutchins’ approach as a filmmaker has been defined by his attention to using technical details to create atmosphere and his emphasis on collaboration.

Hutchins explained to the American filmmaker that while most of his work was done in digital formats, he was also influenced by the characteristics of the physical film such as the exposure and the curves of the film. After the release of “Archenemy” in 2020, director Adam Egypt Mortimer praised Hutchins on Twitter for having a brilliant mind for light and texture. Hutchins also rejected the idea of ​​the cinematographer as a lone author. One thing I have learned is that cinematography is not something you do on your own. It’s a group [project]. You have to develop your own vision, but the key to a successful film is communication with your director and your crew, ”said Hutchins.

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