SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) – The woman killed following an accident with a prop gun on the New Mexico set of the film “Rust” was a student at USC Upstate at one time, according to a former professor.
Halyna Hutchins was the director of photography for the film. The prop gun was fired by actor and producer Alec Baldwin, according to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.
William Richardson is the operations manger at ETV Upstate and an adjunct professor at USC Upstate in Spartanburg who taught Hutchins for a class in Advanced Video production.
Hutchins was also originally from the Ukraine and an ETV Endowment of South Carolina intern at ETV Upstate.
During that time, she assisted on many of our local field production shoots and content acquisition,” said Richardson. “She had great aspirations of one day working at the highest level of the movie industry. She attained that goal and was recently named one of the rising stars in the industry by American Cinematography magazine.”
Richardson went on to say that Hutchins’ death hit home for him and that his heart was going out to her family and friends.
Dal Kalsi was a fellow student with Hutchins at USC Upstate and said he could tell early on she had the talent and work ethic to succeed in the industry.
“I knew from the time I met Halyna back in 2006, when we were both student filmmakers at USC Upstate, that she had the skills and the drive to make her dream of becoming a Hollywood cinematographer come true. She was making a name for herself as a director of photography when that dream came to an abrupt and unnecessary end. My heart goes out to her family, friends, and colleagues.
I had the pleasure of directing her in one of my student films, helping as a technical advisor on some of her student projects, and helping her connect with a local cinematographer a few years ago when a L.A.-based production she was on needed a specific time-lapse shot to be filmed in the Upstate.
I enjoyed watching her career take off on social media and seeing her name in the credits of some really good independent films, and I’m deeply sorry that the film industry lost her before she was ready to put down her camera."
-Dal Kalsi, former classmate at USC Upstate
Authorities are now investigating the accidental shooting.