Hundreds gathered at Albuquerque Civic Plaza on Saturday evening for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of Halyna Hutchins, the beloved cinematographer who died on Friday, aged 42, following an accident on the set of the Alec Baldwin Western, Rust.
Among the speakers was International Cinematographers Guild President John Lindley, who said that while he’d never met Halyna, he’s developed “a fair picture” of who she was in the days since her passing, given all he’s read, and heard from those who knew her. “She was a mother, a wife, and an accomplished cinematographer. She was beloved, talented, respected and loving,” Lindley told the crowd. “She was also passionate about her work, and that’s really who all of you are. She was one of us.”
Lindley acknowledged that grief can quickly turn to anger in the aftermath of a tragic loss, cautioning union members at the same time to “hold off on the anger for now and support [Halyna’s] family during this time.” He also recited the poem “Death is Nothing At All” by Henry Scott-Holland.
The second speaker up was IATSE Local 480 President Liz Pecos, who paid tribute to Hutchins with a reading of Margaret Read’s poem “Remember Me,” also speaking to the legacy of her “union sister” as “a leader among young female cinematographers.”
“We share the outrage and shock at her life being cut short in such a devastating way. Her death shouldn’t have happened,” said Pecos. “Everyone deserves to go to work knowing they’ll be able to return home safely. This has shaken all of us to the very core. May her memory be eternal and her life not lived in vein.”
The event’s third speaker was IATSE Local 480’s Bryan Evans, who acknowledged that the loss of Hutchins has caused a pain, which will be “felt for a very long time.”
Evans noted the importance of making sure that what happened to Hutchins on set “never happens again,” while asking for IATSE members to remain united, “as we go through this really tragic and terrible time.”
The final speaker of the night was Lane Loper, a crew member from Rust who first met Hutchins around seven weeks ago, quickly coming to know her as a generous, “wonderful woman,” who shared his passion for discussing “the nerdiest stuff,” when it came to filmmaking.
“I was really luck to get to work with her because the woman I met was one of the most talented and kind, collaborative artists, who’d [come up with] things that I could never, ever think of,” said Loper. “Her photography was beautiful, and everyday, everybody on the camera team was proud to be there for her, because they were proud of what they were creating, and what she was creating.
“I would’ve been lucky to ever do another movie with a person like that,” the visibly emotional crew member added. “She’s a wonderful mom and wife, and was just a wonderful soul, and I really hope more people like her exist.”
Hutchins died on Friday following an accident involving a prop gun on the Rust set at Bonanza Creek Ranch in Albuquerque, NM. The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department confirmed Thursday night that Baldwin “discharged” the weapon that killed her, also injuring director Joel Souza. Investigations into the incident are ongoing.
A second candlelight vigil in Hutchins’ memory will be held tomorrow at IATSE Local 80 in Burbank, CA, from 6:00-7:30 PDT.