Vanja Aljinovic, adjunct film professor at Santa Fe Community College died in a car accident, most likely caused from a heart attack, on Monday night. He will be missed by students who adored him and by our new organization that Vanja generously reached out to mentor shortly after receiving a press release about our formation.
Back in November we held an informal Board meeting graciously hosted by Vanja in his home. Three of us, Regina Ress, Lynette Montoya, and I were there in person while Lindarose Berkley joined us on the phone. Vanja made us some wonderful capaccino, served with just the right coffee cake. As we sipped and snacked we brainstormed how our organization might create our first film. By the time we left we had a tentative formate and a working title. All of us felt Vanja’s warmth and enthusiasm and were indeed blessed to have had this special time with him.
I first got to know Vanja as a student in his film acting class. He brought an outstanding professional background to Santa Fe Community College Film Department. From the first class I knew that Vanja loved teaching and had a lot to offer students. That he will be missed is clear from the posts and tributes on Facebook from fellow class members. His mentoring and honest critiquing will live on in the work of those that have been honored to work with him.