Announcing The Big Tell: a film contest featuring undiscovered stories from California’s great Central Valley.
Ten grants of $5,000 will be awarded to create the chosen film concepts.
We are looking for 3-5 minute 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 are authentic, nonfiction mini docs that tell stories of triumph, redemption, grit, hardship, inspiration, perseverance, family, friendship, innovation, community, resilience, pride, humor, fear, and/or hope. Filmmakers of all skill levels and backgrounds are encouraged to apply!
Please join us for our Big Tell Kickoff Party on Thursday, May 4, 2017, at Frank’s Place (1432 Fulton Street in downtown Fresno) during ArtHop from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM where you’ll learn more about The Big Tell, mingle with local filmmakers and storytellers, and enjoy $3 local craft beer drink specials from 6:00 – 7:00 PM!
Can’t make it to the Kickoff Party? Check out our FAQ below:
What is The Big Tell?
It is an annual storytelling competition featuring stories from California’s Central Valley. The 2017 competition offers $5,000 grants to 10 filmmakers to produce a 3-5 minute mini documentary.
What kind of films are you looking for?
Films will be authentic, original, mini documentaries, 3-5 minutes in length. The stylistic or artistic approach and techniques are the discretion of the filmmaker.
Who can enter?
Professional, amateur, or student filmmakers working on their own, or on behalf of a community benefit organization, or nonprofit. Women, people of color, amateurs, students, emerging filmmakers, and people from or living in the Central Valley are encouraged to apply.
Is there a fee to apply?
How do I apply?
Applications will be available on May 4 online at www.thebigtell.org and are due by 5:00 PM on Friday, June 23, 2017.
Do I have to have my own equipment?
No. CMAC in downtown Fresno is offering 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.
Note: CMAC requires a membership fee to access training and equipment ($50 for individuals or organizations, and $25 for students). Some equipment requires completion of training before use. This fee is incurred at the grantee’s expense. Please visit www.cmac.tv to learn more about available resources. Partnership with CMAC is not required, but encouraged for filmmakers that can benefit from it.
Can I use a film that I already made?
We will accept work that has already been started, but it must have been completed in 2017; films cannot have been publicly available or viewed publicly or commercially before the CVCF release date.
What about rights, ownership and permissions?
The film becomes shared property with the filmmaker and CVCF, and cannot have prior ownership. Additionally, your project cannot be publicly available or viewed publicly or commercially before the CVCF release date, and only afterward with consent of or in partnership with CVCF.
CVCF reserves the right to unlimited and non-exclusive broadcast or sharing of your film for purposes that include but are not limited to marketing, promotions, fundraising, or coalition-building. Filmmakers will sign a contract with CVCF that further outlines the terms of the agreement.
Filmmakers assume liability for the mini documentary’s content and are expected to take all steps necessary to secure proper permissions for copyright, location, and talent releases.
What are the timelines/deadlines?
May 4 Applications open (will be available at www.TheBigTell.org on May 4)
June 23 Applications due including application and story concept via storyboard, 30-second concept video, draft narrative, script, or outline
July 11 Award notification
October 3 Films due to CVCF
October 10 CVCF reviews films and notifies grantees of necessary edits
October The Big Tell Showcase (screening event)
I’m not a filmmaker but I have a story to tell
Join us on May 4, 2017 for our Big Tell Kickoff Party to learn more and meet area filmmakers (see next question!). Or, contact CVCF’s Director of Community Engagement, Gretchen Moore, to assist in providing you with resources to help make those connections at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can work with a filmmaker to produce your story. You will need to solidify that partnership before applying since the application asks for information about the filmmaker’s experience. Grant funds can be used to pay the filmmaker you select. Please note that there are no additional funds to cover added expenses and the agreement is between you and your filmmaker, independent of any agreement with CVCF.
If you’re interested in becoming a filmmaker, this is a great time to join CMAC and receive the training and tools you need to share your story!
I’m a filmmaker and am looking for stories to tell
Join us on May 4, 2017 for our Big Tell Kickoff Party to learn more and meet area filmmakers (see previous question!). Or, contact CVCF’s Director of Community Engagement, Gretchen Moore, to assist in providing you with resources to help make those connections at: email@example.com.
Do I have to live in the Central Valley?
No. But your story must be about a person, place, or activity in at least one of the counties in CVCF’s service area (Merced, Mariposa, Madera, Fresno, Tulare, Kings). Extra consideration will be given to filmmakers that live in or have a direct connection to the Central Valley.
How will the winning mini documentaries be presented to the public?
In October, 2017, CVCF is hosting a screening of all 10 mini docs. Filmmakers and their subjects are invited to attend the screening where they will be able to introduce their films to the audience.
What is required of a winning applicant?
Winning applicants are expected to participate in a variety of publicity and media events including, but not limited to: radio and TV appearances, features in print and electronic media, presence at a VIP party in advance of the screening, and participation in The Big Tell Showcase in October.
When do I get the money and what can I use it for?
Funds will be made available in July, 2017, shortly after we announce the finalists. There is no restriction on the use of the funds, but be advised that no additional funds will be administered for any reason. You will sign a contract with CVCF that details funding information. For more information, contact Kelvin F. Alfaro, CVCF Director of Programs & Evaluation, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who can apply: Teams, companies, individuals, nonprofits, filmmakers?
All of the above. Because this is a grant, you must be a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization or have one as your fiscal agent to receive the funds. If you do not have a fiscal agent, you may use CMAC at no cost. Contact our staff to learn more: email@example.com.
How do I apply?
Applications can be submitted online by visiting www.thebigtell.org and are due by 5:00 PM on Friday, June 23, 2017. Applications will be available at www.thebigtell.org starting May 4.
Should I fill out a FLUXX profile?
CVCF grantees are required to complete a profile on FLUXX, our online portal. There is no need to complete that profile until/unless you have been awarded a grant.
We’re so excited for this contest and are looking forward to seeing your amazing stories!