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About Suraj Israni

suraj israni collage

 An aspiring filmmaker, Suraj Israni understood the way film has the capacity to inspire social change. 

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.

While attending school in New York City, he encouraged 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.

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.

Suraj was extremely passionate about all aspects of filmmaking, and through his passion his family 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.

“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.

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