- Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed after Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on a film set.
- Last week, a prominent Hollywood workers union had plans to strike over dangerous working conditions.
- Hutchins had voiced support for the strike.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the labor union that represents Hollywood’s crew and technical workers, including cinematographers, editors, and hairstylists, was on the brink of an industry-wide strike over poor working conditions days before Halyna Hutchins was killed on a film after the actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop firearm.
Plans for the historic walkout were shelved last Sunday after the IATSE announced a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the trade organization that represents the major Hollywood studios such as Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., and Universal.
In a statement, the IATSE wrote that the proposed contract “addresses core issues, including reasonable rest periods; meal breaks; a living wage for those on the bottom of the pay scale; and significant increases in compensation to be paid by new-media companies.”
By “new-media companies,” the statement refers to streamers such as
, which the IATSE had claimed provide pay rates to their members that are “unfairly discounted” because non-traditional producers are often classified as “New Media.”
—IATSE // #IASolidarity (@IATSE) October 17, 2021
“This is a Hollywood ending,” IATSE International President Matthew Loeb said in the statement. “Our members stood firm. We are tough and united.”
The threat of an industry walkout became imminent earlier this month when 98% of IATSE members voted to authorize a strike if union leaders were unable to broker a deal with the AMPTP. The union had been seeking a three-year basic agreement that addressed a variety of issues surrounding working conditions. Unions members had argued, as Variety reported, that the surge in productions over the last decade has led to long hours and dangerous environments on set.
Mike Loomer, a set dresser in Hollywood and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 44 member told The Guardian: “That ramp-up in production just made the work and life situation unbearable. We can’t work at that feverish pace. We are not machines. We are people that need rest.
“Working in Hollywood is not just wrap parties and red-carpet events. It is a factory job, where we move the factory and set it up every day before we do our shift. The amount of physical labor that is required to make an hour of television … it’s unbelievable to the average person.”
Halyna Hutchins, who was hit and killed after the actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of the movie “Rust” at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Thursday, had posted a photo on social media of the film’s set writing that the crew stood in solidarity with the IATSE.
“Standing in #IAsolidarity with our @IATSE crew here in New Mexico on RUST,” she wrote.
Hutchins, 42, died after being transported to the University of New Mexico Hospital in critical condition. The film’s director, Joel Souza, 48, left the hospital Friday morning after also being injured in the incident, a cast member has said. Deadline previously reported that Souza was hit in the shoulder.
Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the set around 1:50 p.m. local time after receiving a call about a shooting.
“According to investigators it appears that the scene being filmed involved the use of a prop firearm when it was discharged. Detectives are investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement provided to Insider.
Insider has contacted representatives of IATSE for comment.
Michael Chambliss, a representative for the IATSE guild, told Buzzfeed News that Halyna Hutchins was a “tragic and needless accident.”
In a statement released shortly after the news broke, the cinematographers guild’s national president John Lindley, and National Executive Director Rebecca Rhine, said in a statement: “We received the devastating news this evening, that one of our members, Halyna Hutchins, the Director of Photography on a production called Rust in New Mexico died from injuries sustained on the set.”
The statement continued: “The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event.”
Halyna Hutchins was a graduate of the prestigious American Film Institute and was named a “rising star” by American Cinematographer magazine in 2019.
Courtesy By INSIDER