Story Syndicate has begun production on a feature-length documentary on the life and work of Haylna Hutchins. The film will detail both her work as a cinematographer and her death on the set of the low-budget western “Rust.” Emmy nominee Rachel Mason (“Circus of Books”) will direct the film, which has the approval and backing of Hutchins’ widower Matt Hutchins. Julee Metz is producing.
The current untitled documentary will have exclusive access to Hutchins’ personal and professional archives. It will detail her early life living on a Soviet naval base and then in Kyiv, Ukraine and eventually chronicle her rise to professional prominence as one of the indie film scenes’ most sought-after cinematographers. It will, of course, deal with the on-set calamity which saw Hutchins being fatally injured while shooting “Rust,” a Alec Baldwin-led indie, as well as the fallout from that tragedy and attempts to complete the film.
Hutchins was fatally shot by Baldwin in October 2021 while filming on Santa Fe, New Mexico’s Bonanza Creek Ranch. The actor fired a prop gun that he claimed had been declared “cold” but in-fact contained at least one live round of ammunition. “Rust” director Joe Souza was also injured in the incident, and production was halted indefinitely.
Hutchins’ family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in February of 2022 and eventually settled with the producers, including Baldwin. Matt Hutchins would come aboard the film as an executive producer with filming expected to commence with its original cast in January of 2023.
“Halyna was on the cusp of making a lasting mark on cinema,” says Mason. “As a filmmaker, I wanted to make movies with her. Never could I have imagined that I would be making a film about her. The world lost a great artist, but I lost a friend. The fact that her brilliance as an artist was instantly overshadowed by the circumstances around her death, pains me deeply. This film allows us the opportunity to share her humanity and talent with the world, and to experience the journey of her collaborators working to complete her final creative work. Halyna was destined for greatness, and she still is.”
Added producer Metz, “Halyna and I worked in the same industry and shared a passion for storytelling, but what bonded us as friends was motherhood. Our families became incredibly close over the years and when the unimaginable happened, I knew I needed to pay tribute to Halyna by telling her incredible story in the fullest way possible. Rachel and I are thrilled to be able to partner with Story Syndicate to make this vision come to life, and we’re honored that Matt Hutchins has entrusted us with her story.”
Liz Garbus, Dan Cogan, Jon Bardin, Mala Chapple and Kate Barry will executive produce the Halyna Hutchins documentary for Story Syndicate, with UTA Independent Film Group handling worldwide sales.
Story Syndicate’s other recently released projects include: “Eat the Rich: The GameStop Sage” (Netflix); “Murders Before the Marathon” (ABC, Hulu); “Becoming Cousteau” (Nat Geo); “Nuclear Family” (HBO); “Children of the Underground” (FX, Hulu) and the upcoming “I Am Vanessa Guillen” set for a Friday, Nov. 17 release on Netflix.
Story Syndicate is repped by UTA; Mason by UTA and Echo Lake Entertainment.
This story was first reported by Deadline.