Stories & Commentaries

Recognizing Artistic Excellence

Rajeev Sigamoney Receives Sonscreen Film Festival Vision Award

A diverse group of people stand in front of a media wall, some holding awards that look like a film strip

Pacific Union College (PUC) professor Rajeev Sigamoney (second from left, front) with other faculty and students at the NAD's 2024 Sonscreen Film Festival. Photo: Pacific Union College

The film department at Pacific Union College (PUC) had a lot to celebrate during the 2024 Sonscreen Film Festival in Loma Linda, California. 

From April 4-6, two faculty members, 16 film students, and roughly 10 alumni who either assisted with films while they were students or came to support the current film students attended the festival. PUC had nine films play in the festival, with three winning awards: 

  • Audience Choice – Inner Space by Josue Hilario (currently at ACA Italy)
  • Jury Award: Achievement in Visual Style – Evelyn by Megan Lira
  • Jury Award: Achievement in Writing – Minority Report by Dylan Sails

Rajeev Sigamoney, PUC’s visual arts department chair, was presented with the Sonscreen Vision Award. He kindly shared about accepting the Vision Award and this year’s festival. 

You were given the Sonscreen Vision Award. Tell us about this and how it felt to accept the award.  

I was given the Sonscreen Vision Award for my support and work with the festival over the past 20+ years. It’s kind of like a lifetime achievement award, which I cringe over being old enough to receive. Lol. But I am honored to receive it. 

I realize now that I was part of the festival for nearly ten years as a professional filmmaker, panelist, and even festival director – getting to grow my film portfolio, see the festival grow, and develop projects with the community. And then getting to be a part of the festival for the last 12 years as a faculty member, supporting my students and the overall festival. It really is special to have been part of a community for so many years, and I hope that I can continue to do so in the future.

How did it feel to see your students win in their respective categories?

It is always a joy to see our students celebrate receiving an honor for their hard work and thoughtful projects. The festival over the years has bonded our students and faculty, started many thoughtful conversations, and pushed our students to make the best work they could possibly make in future years. 

What do these awards and showcasing their work mean to you and your department?

The awards and the showcase are really just a symbol. Film at PUC, with our students and faculty, is a family. We support one another. We cheer for one another. We uplift one another. So when films win, we cheer for one another, and when films don’t win or don’t get played, we uplift one another. So the wins are really just one side of the coin for what I believe is a healthy department that values all of our students, even those who don’t get to screen or get trophies.

What activities or events did you and your students attend during the festival?

The students participated in multiple days of screenings. They were up front for Q&A’s after their films played, and they also got to see some professional films, with the filmmakers in attendance, including an Oscar-winning short documentary.

How do you think your students felt about attending Sonscreen and participating in this creative community?

Annual Sonscreen trips remind our students why they are at PUC. Our students really do have a unique voice and style within the Adventist system. Being together, supporting one another, and having discussions on films really define their creative voices and bond them with lifelong friends that they will continue to work with for a lifetime.

What do you want the PUC community and others to know about your department?

It’s the best. The department I joined has been an inspiring, creative community since before I got here and will continue to be so for years to come.