10 local films earn $5,000 each

Films include a race riot from Exeter’s past and a Visalia-based hip-hop record label


FRESNO – A city known for small town charm once had a race riot. A local hip hop record label’s attempt to inspire young artists. And how dance and music help keep one of the Valley’s most populous immigrant cultures alive.  

These are just a few of the topics covered in short films awarded funding through the Central Valley Community Foundation’s (CVCF) annual The Big Tell film competition featuring stories of California’s Central Valley. CVCF awarded $5,000 to 10 local filmmakers selected from 75 applications from Fresno, Madera, Merced, Mariposa, Kings, and Tulare counties. The filmmakers will produce mini-documentaries about life in the Central Valley; stories that shine a light on the incredible people and places that make our region so extraordinary.

These mini-docs will premiere at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25 at the Tower Theatre in Fresno. To see the 10 mini-docs showcased in 2017 and 2018 go to TheBigTell.org or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. 

This year’s films include the following films:

El espíritu de las danzas (The Spirit of Traditional Dances) by Adán Ávalos: “El espíritu de las danzas” is a lyrical documentary of the celebratory power of dance and music to keep history, tradition, and community alive for Central Valley Oaxacan families. 

N.$.D by Chad Saechao: A hip-hop record label based in Visalia is inspiring the next generation of artists in the Central Valley. 

Family Rx by Christopher Velazquez: Pharmacist Rafael Velazquez has owned and operated Merced Drug for over 20 years, living the American dream while helping countless families in the community. 

Peacock: Exeter, The Anti-Filipino Riot by Glenn Philip Martinez Aquino: Exploring the anti-Filipino riot that occurred on Oct. 24, 1929 in Exeter, and the contributions that Filipinos have made to agri-business and labor throughout California and the U.S. 

Story Queens by Haley White: Drag Story Time in Fresno are part of a national movement to promote love, acceptance, fun, and reading for children and adults alike. Remembering Trevor by Joshua Krause In the wake of tragedy, a grieving Clovis mother takes steps to promote suicide awareness and prevention. 

Professional AND Skater by Juan ‘Carlos’ Burgos: Dedicated high school teacher by day and talented skateboarder by night, Ronald Tagliareni combines his values and passions to make his community a better place. 

Mariposa Is Music! by Karen Dusek: Mariposa is a small town with a big soul, and nothing reflects that more than the music of the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra founded in 2002 by Les Marsden. 

Capital G by Regina Simmons: Fresno’s Green Team and Youth Ambassadors are on a mission to promote sustainable practices including innovative water recycling processes and air quality monitoring. 

Suffrage in the Valley by Orlando J. Gomez: The League of Women Voters Fresno will celebrate the 100th anniversary of national women’s suffrage in 2020. Learn about the women behind the movement, and the extraordinary role that the Central Valley played to influence the cause.

“For the third year in a row, we are amazed by the incredible talent we have here in the Central Valley,” read a statement on the event’s website TheBigTell.org. 

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.

CVCF has also partnered with Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) to offer access to training and tools including production studios, private editing suites, meeting rooms, classroom space, and a computer lab, along with a variety of portable production gear. All local and aspiring filmmakers can become members of CMAC for 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. Visit www.cmac.tv to learn more about available resources.

The Central Valley Community Foundation has been a trusted partner in philanthropy in the Central Valley for more than 50 years. Our mission is to cultivate smart philanthropy, lead, and invest in solutions that build stronger communities. For more information, visit www.centralvalleycf.org.

Start typing and press Enter to search