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Calling All Filmmakers: Grants Available To Tell Your Story

FRESNO – Central Valley Community Foundation (CVCF) is excited to announce the second year of its regional film making competition featuring stories of California’s Central Valley, “The Big Tell: Undiscovered Stories from the Central Valley presented by Bank of America.”

For its second consecutive year, CVCF is awarding ten grants of $5,000 to professional, amateur and student filmmakers to each produce a 5-minute mini-documentary that highlights the innovative and inspiring people and places of the Central Valley.

CVCF is looking for applications from filmmakers of all skill levels and from all six counties the non-profit serves including Merced, Mariposa, Madera, Fresno, Tulare and Kings.

Applications open May 17 and are available at The winning films will debut at The Big Tell Showcase, a red carpet film festival at Fresno’s Tower Theatre on Friday, Oct. 19.

Winning filmmakers will be mentored by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Sascha Rice. She will provide one-on-one support to each filmmaker including development of storylines, technical assistance and guidance on how to get their films to mainstream production.

Additionally, CVCF has partnered with CMAC (Community Media Access Collaborative) to offer access to training and tools including production studio, private editing suites, meeting rooms, classroom space, and a computer lab, along with a variety of portable production gear.

“The stories of California’s Central Valley are rich, complex, and inspiring, but they are often overlooked,” said Ashley Swearengin, president & CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation.

“The Big Tell shines a light on the people and places of the Central Valley and allows us to celebrate all that’s going on here. And, in the process, we are building the region’s identity and inspiring our residents to make positive changes in their communities.”

More information, and last year’s 10 winning films, can be found at

Important Dates:

  • May 17 – Applications open
  • June 22 – Applications due (see website for specifics)
  • June 29 – Award notification
  • Oct. 8 – Films due to CVCF
  • Oct. 12 – CVCF reviews films and notifies grantees of necessary edits
  • Oct. 19 – The Big Tell Showcase: Red carpet event screening all 10 films at Tower Theatre in Fresno’s Tower District

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