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Rideback Rise Finds CEO, Expands Second Cohort

Rideback Rise Finds CEO, Expands Second Cohort

Dan Lin’s nonprofit content accelerator for POC creators is continuing to grow.

Rideback Rise has tapped Diana Mogollón, the founder and former head of Warner Bros.’ Stage 13 digital content studio, to serve as its first-ever CEO. She will take the reins from Rise founding executive director Sabrina Pourmand, who was hired alongside Tracey Bing as head of content in February 2023. Pourmand and Bing will be departing Rise.

“Diana is an inspiring leader with an impressive track record of bringing underrepresented voices to the forefront, as evidenced by her vision and tenacity in building the Stage 13 studio to champion POC storytellers. On behalf of the Rise board, I’m thrilled Diana is taking the help at Rise and applying her distinct vision, passion and leadership to advancing the Rise mission and working with Rise’s supremely talented storytellers of color to drive narrative change,” said Lin, who stepped down from Rideback the production company earlier this year to run Netflix film but retains his seat as board chair of the nonprofit he founded. “I would also like to express gratitude to our founding executive director Sabrina Pourmand, whose interim tenure brilliantly set Rise on its current path to being an industry change agent, and to our first-ever head of content, Tracey Bing, a formidable producer and champion of artists who worked tirelessly to recruit and operationalize the Rise cohort.”

In the coming weeks, Mogollón is expected to announce the new members of her team, who will join Rise talent and creative development manager April Chang.

The next cohort will itself experience change and growth. Whereas the inaugural class consisted of five fellows (including one writing team) and 10 residents who each received $50,000 and $10,000 in funding, respectively, the 2024-25 cohort will allow for up to 15 fellows, each receiving $40,000 stipends in addition to access to development funds to help them option IP and create visual pitch materials, including proof-of-concept videos. Applications for the second cohort will be open for the month of June on the Rise website.

“In a short time, Rise has established itself as a highly-respected institution doing the necessary work to advance narrative change by developing mainstream content by diverse creators, and I am honored to have been entrusted to lead Rise at a time when the industry is contracting and the need to amplify POC stories is both real and good business,” Mogollón said in a statement. “Since stepping in, I have been in awe of the excellence of our current cohort, and I’m excited to welcome our second cohort of Fellows later this fall. We are determined to make a difference in bringing more POC voices to the forefront of film and television with stories that engage audiences across the board.”

Mogollón has experience in this space, as Stage 13 was created in part to give opportunities to filmmakers from underrepresented backgrounds (it was behind Netflix’s Special, among other series) before it was shuttered in the Warner Bros. Discovery regime. Prior to that, she was executive vice president and general manager for NBCUniversal’s Latino Gen Z/millennial-focused mun2 cable network.

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Working out of Rideback Ranch’s Historic Filipinotown headquarters, the current cohort of Rise fellows and residents has been developing their projects while receiving mentorship from creatives such as Adele Lim, Robert Rodriguez and Chris Weitz; participating inmasterclasses and fireside chats with Jason Blum, Phil Lord, Kemp Powers, Jessica Gao and Hasan Minhaj; and getting creative advisement from writer-showrunners including Jessica Sharzer, Doug Jung and Amanda Idoko.

Rise’s institutional donors include the Ford, MacArthur and Doris Duke foundations as well as the Murphy Family Fund, The Asian American Foundation, the Panda CommUnity Fund, Zelnick Belzberg Charitable Trust, Comcast NBC, the UTA Foundation, the Horn Foundation and Salmira.

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