For this week’s #FacultyFriday feature, meet Rajeev Sigamoney, an associate professor of film and television production in the department of visual arts. He has over 14 years of film experience as a writer, director, and producer for a variety of film projects, including feature-length films, TV series, and web series. He has also participated in and presented at many film conferences, seminars, and festivals, including the Napa Valley Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival.
Though he has only been at PUC since 2012, Sigamoney has already made a huge impact on our campus. He has been the faculty advisor for the Film Club and for the Student Association video yearbook editor for several years, and also served as the executive director for the annual Diogenes Film Festival, which showcases student projects at the nearby Cameo Cinema in St. Helena.
Name: Rajeev Sigamoney
Title: Associate professor of film and television production and film program coordinator
Faculty since: 2012
Classes taught: Short Scriptwriting I & II, Screenwriting I & II, Group Production, Cinematic Storytelling, Marketing & Distribution, Senior Thesis
Education: Bachelor’s in electrical/computer engineering from Johns Hopkins University, 1997; masters in technical management from Johns Hopkins University, 2002; masters of fine art in screenwriting from Academy of Art, 2016
Professional activities: Visit Rajeev’s IMDB page to see his professional work.
What made you decide to be a teacher?
I enjoy being around young people and the ability to support the next generation of artists was something that excited me. Being able to do this in an Adventist school gives me the opportunity to develop the entire individual—making sure my students are valued and loved, apart from their work, something many artists seem to lose along the way.
What are some of your hobbies?
My favorite thing is to learn about different cultures and religions. Where we come from and what beliefs we hold most dear tell us the most about someone. So I constantly seek out to experience new places, events or people who will open up my world to something new.
What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I spent 10 years working in Hollywood and while there, got to work with Academy Award winning actress Octavia Spencer, and Emmy Award winners Tony Hale and Melissa McCarthy. I consider these years of experiences (good & bad) in the film industry to be the greatest asset I have to give my students.
What’s your favorite thing about PUC?
Diversity. Not just in the ethnicity of our students but in variety of thought. I love when I teach a screenwriting course, one student might be writing a romantic comedy, another an international drama, and another an epic sci-fi action film. Putting these students with diverse ideas into the same room together creates an experience I believe makes PUC one of a kind.
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
Fisher Hall. This building I spend the majority of my days in ends up being home to many of my film students. I get no greater joy than watching them hanging out with one another, spending late nights in the lab, and watching television in the lounge. I hope the experience of acceptance and creativity they get during their four years will be a model of a healthy community they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
What’s your favorite movie?
My favorite film is “Monsoon Wedding” by Mira Nair. It is a film that captures the intricacies of Indian life, balancing the good and bad of heritage and Western ideals. Every time I watch it, it makes me think, cry and laugh. It’s perfect from beginning to end.
What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
Consider your education part of your career. What you do during your years of college, especially within film and television, aren’t just in preparation to become a filmmaker—they are what makes you a filmmaker. We just had a student develop a web series in a Group Production course that just paid her $10,000 more to develop a full season. Time and time again, I have seen student projects move them forward in their career, but only if they initially took the assignments seriously as part of their career in the first place.