Filmmaker Bandar Albuliwi staged a rally outside of Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Sunday afternoon to bring attention to Halyna’s Law, proposed legislation he is supporting to ban real guns and live ammunition on film sets.
Albuliwi’s demonstration was a response to the death of Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer who was fatally shot when a firearm held by Alec Baldwin accidentally discharged during rehearsal on the set of the independent Western “Rust.”
Albuliwi, like Hutchins an AFI Conservatory alumnus, has delayed pre-production on his upcoming series “Sex Addict(s)” in order to campaign for “Halyna’s Law.” The filmmaker described his AFI fellows as a “tight knit family” that he stays in contact with, some of whom worked with Hutchins on the set of “Rust.”
“I heard some horror stories from my friends that walked off the movie,” Albuliwi told Variety. “Everything was building up over the course of weeks and I’m just sad that it had to end up this way.”
The director said he first learned about the tragedy from a Facebook post shared by Bill Dill, a cinematographer and senior lecturer at AFI.
“Bill Dill, who was Halyna Hutchins’ mentor at the American Film Institute conservatory, shared a post on Facebook an hour after she was killed and it started a conversation among the AFI fellows,” Albuliwi said. “I was sick to my stomach, so I went to Change.org and basically wrote down everything that I thought was wrong with Hollywood.”
Albuliwi created the Change.org petition on Oct. 22, which currently has over 115,000 signatures. Actors like Dwayne Johnson, Olivia Wilde, Julianne Moore, Lena Dunham, Anna Paquin, Sarah Paulson, Holland Taylor and Ariana DeBose have signed and shared the petition on social media.
Albuliwi is focused on working with politicians to get real legislation passed.
“I’m trying to get bills passed state-by-state so Hollywood can’t run away to another state,” Albuliwi said.
Albuliwi spoke with California Sen. Dave Cortese on BBC World News Oct. 25 to discuss his legislation to ban the use of real firearms and ammunition from all theatrical productions. The senator is set to introduce the law to the Senate on Jan. 3. Albuliwi is also appealing to the governors of New York and New Mexico as well as other state officials.
“In this day and age, having a firearm that has a live firing pin in it and can kill somebody should be unacceptable to everyone in the state of California,” Cortese said during the BBC broadcast. “There are many, many other ways to stage what they want to stage without having live firearms out there on crowded sets.”
Jagga Josh, a local Brooklyn rapper, joined Albuliwi at the Barclay’s Center to support his cause.
“Special effects people can put Godzilla in the middle of Times Square no problem, but you have people shooting real guns on set. It makes no sense,” Jagga Josh told Variety, “If my friend can add bullet effects into my low-budget music videos on a computer from his living room, I would expect a multi-million dollar company to do that automatically.”