The American Film Institute’s (AFI) Dean and Executive Vice President Susan Ruskin paid tribute to the filmmaker at the WrapWomen’s Power Women Summit Live Event, which honors women in Hollywood and the entertainment industry.
“I’m here to express today what I believe we are all feeling about the loss of the vibrant, gifted, adventurous, collaborative team player as well as unique visionary that is Halyna Hutchins,” Ruskin began in her speech. “Our community is rocked by this loss. It is incalculable.”
Hutchins died at the age of 42 when a gun was discharged on the set of the film “Rust.” She was hit by a projectile and died from her injuries.
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was honored at the WrapWomen’s Power Women Summit Live Event on Thursday. (Mat Hayward/Getty Images for AMC Networks)
“We can all see ourselves on the set that day and we know how we wish this might have unfolded to avoid the ending that we have now no choice but to live with and to process into our new reality,” the exec continued. “Losing Halyna reminds us of all the times we had to deal with unfamiliar locations [and] long hours.”
She continued: “Halyna’s death is an awful reminder of how quickly things can turn and how we must remember – always remember – that every crew member, no matter how invincible they seem, is also vulnerable.”
Ruskin said that she and her colleagues at AFI “think about all the films that Halyna would have made had she lived because we know how gifted she was and we also know how much she’s going to be missed.”
“We think about all the people she might have touched with her talent and her spirit and her kindness if she was still here with us,” she added.
Hutchins was praised as “an incredible cinematographer, a great friend, a mother, a wife [and] a daughter.”
Hutchins died in October after being struck by a projectile when a firearm was discharged on the set of the movie ‘Rust.’ (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong | Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie)
“She is our sister,” Ruskin said.
In celebration of Hutchins, Ruskin then introduced a montage of some of her work featuring clips from some films, television shows and shorts that she worked on during her career.
The room then held a moment of silence for the late filmmaker.
“Thank you, it means a great deal to just sit in this moment and to remember that we’re all part of this community and our hope is that you’ll support us to make sure that Halyna’s memory continues on,” Ruskin continued.
She then acknowledged Hutchins’ husband Matt, who was in the audience at the event.
A scholarship has been developed by the American Film Institute in Hutchins’ memory. (Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie)
“Finally, the one thing I do want to say to you and let you know: We may have lost Halyna, but you are now a permanent member of the AFI family and we look forward to many, many years of you being there with us and you will always be a member of our community,” she said.
AFI and Matt have teamed up to develop a scholarship in Hutchins’ memory.
The summit also included discussions with Cynthia Erivo and Sarah Paulson, with an award presented by “Schitt’s Creek” star Emily Hampshire.