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The Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts

Purpose & Projects

PURPOSE

The Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts will elevate the university’s role as a leader in innovative, interdisciplinary collaboration in both a local and global perspective. From film scholars and film makers specializing in our unique border region, and colleagues engaged in transnational cinematic experiences, to practitioners in sound design, composition, writing and acting, the new center will engage across boundaries to combine learning and doing, storytelling and social engagement, and cross-media innovation. 

The Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts aims to provide access and opportunity for UC San Diego students and scholars to pursue their passion in cinematics arts, a field that has grown to include a range of media forms: film, video art, animation, virtual environments, and global and transnational cinemas. 

The School of Arts and Humanities — the university’s hub for creative and academic advancement in arts and culture, including film, music, and theater — is ideally positioned to fulfill the Suraj Israni Center's interdisciplinary mission. The center will be the nexus where rich conversations take place to spur creative excellence and innovation.

To fulfill the Suraj Israni Center's goals, the Israni family’s gift also establishes the Suraj Israni Chancellor’s Endowed Chair in Cinematic Arts to support the research, teaching and service of a distinguished faculty member focused on cinematic arts in Arts and Humanities.


PROJECTS

The center will develop and host:

  • film festivals and symposiums,
  • student scholarships and apprenticeships,
  • student-centered activities like flmmaking and screenwriting workshops, master classes, competitions, awards and travel in support of academic work, and
  • screenings and exhibitions featuring the work of both students and researchers.

The central location for nearly all programming will be in the North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood.

 


RELATIONSHIP TO EXISTING FILM/MEDIA PROGRAMS

The Suraj Israni Center will support and build upon existing film and media programs on campus by hosting a variety of events, scholarships, resources and opportunities to connect campus faculty, students, and industry professionals for cross-media innovation.

Location & Facilities

The Suraj Israni Center director and staff will work out of the Office of the Dean in the Arts and Humanities Building in the North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood.

Public-facing programs will primarily be located in two, state-of-the-art screening and gathering rooms in the North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood, directly below the Craft Center.

The location and development of physical production facilities are not yet finalized.

 Suraj-Israni-Center-Cinematic-Arts-Signage-Photo-UCSD-550x370.png

 

About Suraj Israni

An aspiring filmmaker, Suraj Israni understood the way film has the capacity to inspire social change. Suraj-Israni-Headshot.png While attending school in New York City, he would encourage his family at home in San Diego to watch independent movies and documentaries, sharing with them the films that moved him the most. After his passing, his family is ensuring their son’s legacy will be carried forward with an endowment commitment that established the Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts.

Suraj Israni’s passion for film writing and directing led him to enroll in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and he became dedicated to following and attending multiple film festivals, including Sundance. He developed an eclectic taste and deep knowledge of both film and music, and was always learning new skills: he excelled in stand-up comedy, composing music, playing multiple instruments and writing scripts.

“We hope to see Suraj’s kind-heartedness and helpful nature live through students who benefit from this center. Our vision is to see his dreams and aspirations come to life via the artistic work produced by students,” Deepak and Varsha Israni said. “Suraj’s passion will live on through the success of the Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts.”

The Isranis said their son was extremely passionate about all aspects of filmmaking, and through his passion they developed an appreciation for and growing understanding of the impact and potential of film. In particular, he introduced them to the great benefit festivals have for young filmmakers and professionals, and the Isranis want to provide opportunity and access to students who share similar interests as Suraj.

“As the cinematic arts in the UC San Diego Division of Arts and Humanities moves into a new phase of preparing the next generation of creative leaders, the Israni name will become deeply familiar to students and recognized among the global cinematic arts community,” said Cristina Della Coletta, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities and an Italian film scholar. “We are grateful to Deepak and Varsha Israni for their commitment to supporting our current and future students, all with the drive to understand and create film for the common good.”

 

Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts established in memory of promising film student

In recognition of the generous gift from Deepak and Varsha Israni, UC San Diego is proud to establish the Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts within the School of Arts and Humanities.

Read more


Fellowships & Opportunities

Headshots of the 10 Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts Fellows

Fellowships

Production and research fellowships are open to faculty, staff, graduate students and undergraduate students. View opportunities and meet the fellows!

Learn More

Now Accepting Film Equipment Requests

The Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts offers equipment to current faculty, staff and students to encourage creative film production and exploration. Submit a form to request use of up to five items, including professional cameras, lenses and sound equipment.

LEARN MORE

Let's Collaborate!

The Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts is accepting requests for partnership and collaboration for the 2023-24 academic year.

LEARN MORE


Events

Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts opening

Grand Opening Event

Campus leadership, faculty, staff, students and alumni joined invited guests Oct. 15 for the grand opening of the UC San Diego Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts. The event included a welcome reception, photo opportunities and a special discussion with filmmakers and Visual Arts alumni Joanne Mony Park ‘10 and M.G. Evangelista ‘10, led by center director Michael Trigilio (Visual Arts). 

View slideshow

Fall 2023 Events

  • Saturday, October 28, 2023 | 2:00 pm
    Mosaic Building, Room 113
  • UC San Diego Panel Discussion and Q&A: "Storytelling: Envisioning the Future, Honoring the Past" hosted by the Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts in collaboration with the UC San Diego Office of Alumni Engagement and the SoCal CineForum. 
  • Register>>

  •  Tuesday, October 31, 2023 | 7-9:00 pm
  • Mosaic Building, Room 114
  • Halloween Animated Film Festival, featuring 12 spooky shorts and industry guest Mike Dietz.
  • Register>>

  • Friday, November 3, 2023 | 6:00 pm
    Mosaic Building, Room 113
  • The Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts is pleased to partner with Professor King Britt’s Blacktronika Series to present a film screening of "God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines" followed by a discussion and Q&A with director Kristian Hill and producer Jennifer Washington. 
  • Register>>


View our digital "Save the date" for basic event details - more info coming soon!

Spring 2023 Events

April 27 | 5-6:30 p.m.
Zoom webinar
Media Care Talk Series co-organized with the Film Studies Program: Ying Qian, "Ways to Care: Documentary Hard and Soft"
Register >>

May 6 | 3 p.m.
Mosaic Building 113
Film Screening and Panel Discussion: Official Monkey Business production company, featuring UC San Diego alumni in conversation with Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts Director Michael Trigilio
More information and register>>

May 18 | 5-6:30 p.m.
Zoom webinar
Media Care Talk Series co-organized with the Film Studies Program: Bishnupriya Ghosh, "The Blood Files: The Politics of Epidemic Media"
Register >> 

May 19 | 1-4 p.m.
Structural and Materials Engineering (SME) 149
Alexandre O. Philippe Master Class
Register >>

May 20 | 5 p.m.
Mosaic Building 113
Film Screening Series co-organized with the Film Studies Program and the Center for Hellenic Studies: Lynch/Oz
Register >> 


For information about individual events, please contact surajisranicenter@ucsd.edu.

Winter 2023 Events

Jan. 21 | 5-7:30 p.m.
Mosaic Building 113
Suraj Israni Memorial Lecture featuring Professor Scott Bukatman

Feb. 2 | 5-6:30 p.m.
Zoom webinar
Media Care Talk Series co-organized with the Film Studies Program: Joshua Neves, "The Data Pharmacy"
Register >> 

Feb. 8 | 4-8 p.m.
Structural and Materials Engineering (SME) Building Terrace
Film Screening Series co-organized with the Black Studies Project and European Studies: "Autumn Beat" by Antonio Dikele Distefano 
Register >>

Feb. 11 | 4-7 p.m.
Mosaic Building 113
Film Screening Series co-organized with the Black Studies Project: "Black Mama, White Mama" (1973). Discussion held by Graduate Student Noelle Sepina.
Register >>

Feb. 18 | 3 and 6:30 p.m.
Mosaic Building 113
Film Screening Series co-organized with the Latin American Studies Program: Indigenous Film Festival Initiative

Feb. 27 | 5-6:30 p.m.
Zoom webinar
Media Care Talk Series co-organized with the Film Studies Program: Hannah Zeavin, "The Far Voice"
Register >>

Mar. 4 | 6-8 p.m.
Mosaic Building 113
Film Screening Series: Standard Fantastic – Transborder Film Fellowship with Omar Lopex, Jafet Arzate, and Marinthia Gutierrez
Register >>

Mar. 10 | 1-4 p.m.
Structural and Materials Engineering Building Room 149
Celestial Histories and Storytelling through Film: Alternative documentary approaches for the humanities (part of the American Skies: Celestial Images as Technologies of Cultural Transfer event series)
Register >>

Mar. 11 | 5 p.m.
Mosaic Building 113
Cielos Americanos: Film screenings and discussion (part of the American Skies: Celestial Images as Technologies of Cultural Transfer event series)
Register >>

Mar. 14 | 5-6:30 p.m.
Public Engagement Building 721
Media Care Talk Series co-organized with the Film Studies Program: Juno Salazar Parreñas, "When Does Care Become Cruel? Rethinking Care with Animals in 3 Scenes"
Register >>

For information about individual events, please contact surajisranicenter@ucsd.edu.

Fall 2022 Events

Oct. 15
Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts opening event

Oct. 27 | 5-6:30 p.m.
Zoom webinar
Media Care Talk Series co-organized with the Film Studies Program: Jean Ma, “Care, Crisis, Cure: Sleep Must be Protected”

Oct. 28 | 3:30-5 p.m.
Hybrid: Structural and Materials Engineering (SME) Building 149 + Zoom
Fellowship workshop and info session with Suraj Israni Center director Michael Trigilio

Oct. 29 | 6-8 p.m.
Mosaic Building 113
Film Screening Series: “To the Stars” by Nicole Miller

Nov. 5 | 6-8 p.m.
Mosaic Building 113
Film Screening Series: Selections from the San Diego Underground Film Festival

Nov. 14 | 5-6:30 p.m.
Zoom webinar
Media Care Talk Series co-organized with the Film Studies Program: Hannah Zeavin, "The Far Voice"

Nov. 19 | 6-8 p.m.
Mosaic Building 113
Film Screening Series: Standard Fantastic – Transborder Film Fellowship with Omar Lopex, Jafet Arzate, and Marinthia Gutierrez

Event Recordings

Missed an event? Watch it online! Select events have been recorded and are viewable on the Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts YouTube playlist. Check back soon, as event recordings are uploaded on a rolling basis.

YouTube Playlist


Get in Touch

 

Faculty Director

Multimedia artist and Department of Visual Arts teaching professor Michael Trigilio is the inaugural director of the Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts.

About Michael

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