Home Entertainment CBS Announces Third Leadership Pipeline Challenge Winners, Awards $250,000 to L.A. Nonprofits

CBS Announces Third Leadership Pipeline Challenge Winners, Awards $250,000 to L.A. Nonprofits

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CBS has announced the winners of the studio’s Leadership Pipeline Challenge short film competition, which supports local L.A. nonprofits.

Now in its third year, the competition challenges early-career storytellers to create short films in collaboration with and highlighting the mission of hyper-local nonprofit organizations. As part of the initiative, CBS provides the filmmakers with education, mentorship, resources, a $5,000 budget and real-world paid leadership experience.

This year’s winning film, “Mi Ofrenda,” reflects the mission of Our House Grief Support Center, which accepted $100,000 donation from CBS, presented by Paramount Global president and CEO Bob Bakish. The short follows Isabella (Frania D. Dueñas), a depressed mother who goes through the difficult but cathartic process of coming to terms with the death of her own beloved father after finally beginning to grieve him properly.

The filmmaking team behind “Mi Ofrenda” consists of director Melba Martinez, writer Emily Parker, casting director Grayson Alamango Shapiro, editor Eddie Yoon, cinematographer Erick Grajeda, production designer Christopher Ikonomou, sound designer Kavon Britt-Tiegs and Pipeline executive Nicola Gayle.

Second place went to Boyle Heights Beat for the film, “The Whistle,” while third place went to TreePeople for their film, “Rooted”; both were awarded $50,000 donations. The Actors’ Gang Prison Project and Carecen each took home $25,000 donations for their films, which placed fourth and fifth, respectively. All participating nonprofits are also gifted full ownership of the short films made on their behalf.

“These films are a testament to what happens when those with resources rally around changemakers with a story to tell,” said Lori Erickson, vice president of casting at CBS Entertainment and the initiative’s founder. “It is critical to invest in creating the world you want to see and to uplift voices that may not otherwise have access to a platform. This program injects social impact into the entertainment industry by training tomorrow’s community-minded leaders.”

See all the films and learn more about the program at pipelinechallenge.paramount.com.

[Pictured: The 2023-2024 class of Leadership Pipeline Challenge participants.]