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Our Mission

The Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts promotes research, scholarship, teaching, production, and exhibition of film and moving-image arts, providing access and opportunity for UC San Diego students and scholars to pursue their passion in cinematics arts.

Our Values and Guiding Principles

  • A broad and inclusive notion of the “cinematic arts” 
  • Innovation and experimentation in production and scholarship
  • Diversity, aiming to highlight underrepresented practitioners and scholars
  • A regional and transnational focus, from San Diego to Mexico and the Pacific Rim
  • Interdisciplinary approaches that enhance collaborative research and practice, expanding understanding and creativity beyond a single discipline

Fast Facts

  • Established in 2021 at UC San Diego, the Center is strategically positioned within the School of Arts and Humanities, the university’s hub for creative and academic advancement in culture, music, theater, film and the arts.
  • Launched following a generous donation from the Israni family and named in honor of their late son Suraj, an aspiring filmmaker, the Center continues his legacy and is committed to promoting, advancing and advocating for film, filmmaking and the cinematic arts.
  • Led by inaugural faculty director Michael Trigilio, a multimedia artist and Department of Visual Arts teaching professor, the Center operates out of the School of Arts and Humanities Dean's Office.
  • The Center's work elevates the university’s role as a leader in innovative, interdisciplinary collaboration in both a local and global perspective. From film scholars and filmmakers 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 transcends boundaries to combine learning and doing, storytelling and social engagement, and cross-media innovation. 
  • The Center does not offer academic coursework, and instead supports and builds 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. Existing programs related to film include the Media major (within the department of Visual Arts) and the Film Studies Minor (within the Institute of Arts and Humanities).


Who is Suraj Israni?

The Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts is named in honor of an aspiring filmmaker.

Learn More about Suraj Israni

Black and white film strip of Suraj Israni's headshot
Blurred photo of people chatting

Meet the Team

The Center is run by a faculty director and supported by staff in the School of Arts and Humanities Dean's Office.

Meet the Team