Newsroom | 18 October 2017

Cigna Foundation and Ghetto Film School Announce Winners of Filmmaking Competition


Cigna Foundation
Gloria Barone, 215-761-4758

  • Young filmmakers highlight work of Cigna Foundation grantee organizations
  • Winners of filmmaking competition announced at Museum of the Moving Image

BLOOMFIELD, Conn., 18 October, 2017 - Three young New York City filmmakers were named winners in a filmmaking competition announced by The Cigna Foundation, in partnership with the Ghetto Film School (GFS) Roster, a networking community for aspiring filmmakers.

The Cigna Foundation and GFS recently teamed up to host a competition among GFS’s young filmmakers, who were charged with using video storytelling to highlight how a selection of Cigna Foundation’s New York City-based World of Difference non-profit grant partners are creating a positive impact on the health and well-being of local residents. The filmmakers were invited to spotlight the work of three Cigna Foundation grantees: Achilles International, the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) and The Mount Sinai Hospital’s Project TEEN HEED (Help Educate to Eliminate Diabetes) program. To view the winning videos and learn more about these non-profits’ efforts, click here.

“Both the Cigna Foundation and the Ghetto Film School share a common passion of supporting local communities,” said Lisa Bacus, executive vice president and global chief marketing and customer officer for Cigna. “From the start of our partnership, we quickly realized the best way to showcase the impactful work of some of our Cigna Foundation grantees was through the lens of some of the most talented young storytellers. All of these young filmmakers have extraordinarily bright futures ahead, and we cannot wait to see what they achieve.”

On October 17, the Cigna Foundation and GFS co-hosted its Artist Showcase at the Museum of the Moving Image to announce the winners of the competition:

  • First place: Antonello Velez’s film “Never Stop” highlighted the work of Achilles International, a non-profit that helps people with all types of disabilities – including blindness, amputations from serving in the military, and physical disabilities from birth – enjoy the feeling of personal achievement by participating in mainstream running events.
  • Second place: Kecia Romiel’s film “Bridging the Gap” focused on Dr. Ina Vandebroek’s and the NYBG’s innovative research project that seeks to improve health care for New York’s immigrant Latino and Caribbean communities.
  • Third place: Eddy Rigaud’s film “Life is Not a Game” spotlighted the Mount Sinai’s Project TEEN HEED program, a diabetes prevention program for at-risk multicultural young people (ages 10-22), led by other young people in East Harlem.

With locations in New York and Los Angeles, GFS is an award-winning nonprofit founded to educate, develop and celebrate the next generation of great American storytellers, engaging with a roster of more than 1,500 young filmmakers, writers and directors each year.

The Cigna Foundation supports a variety of non-profit organizations in the United States and globally that share the Foundation’s goal of improving the health and well-being of individuals in communities everywhere.

About the Cigna Foundation

The Cigna Foundation, founded in 1962, is a private foundation funded by contributions from Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) and its subsidiaries. The Cigna Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to enhancing the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of their communities, with a special focus on those communities where Cigna employees live and work.

About Cigna

Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other related products including group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has more than 95 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit

About Ghetto Film School Roster

The Ghetto Film School Roster is a citywide initiative spearheaded by the Ghetto Film School (GFS) to identify and strengthen the professional networks and pathways necessary for diverse, early career talent to successfully advance within New York City’s vibrant creative industries. This vast network for young professionals working in film, TV and entertainment provides members with access to exclusive events and job opportunities within the creative sector.

Ghetto Film School (GFS) is an award-winning nonprofit founded in 2000 to educate, develop and celebrate the next generation of great American storytellers, always free of charge. GFS identifies young talent from local communities and provides them with the access, opportunity and resources to pursue creative careers.

With locations in New York City and Los Angeles, GFS equips students for top universities and careers in the creative industries through two tracks: an introductory education program for high school students and an early-career support for alumni and young professionals.