“The Oasis in the Sun” shares the history of Avenal, California, as told through the stories of 89-year-old Avenal resident Betty Weaver. Filmmaker Antony López has been interested in these stories since high school and it is his goal to capture narratives from lifelong residents who remember Avenal in its heyday and to share those stories as a way to instill civic pride and to connect current and future residents to the rich history of their city. This film is one of ten mini-documentaries created as part of The Big Tell, a regional film initiative featuring stories from throughout the Central Valley.

“Not many towns across America have streets where your next door neighbor is the City Manager, across the street lives the head custodian to the high school, and down the street live two former teachers who were also former mayors,” says Antony of growing up in Avenal. “I am constantly being exposed to stories, not only about great things that happened in Avenal, but how they fit into the narrative of an often-unmentioned city.”

Antony is a Chicano-Mexican amateur filmmaker born and raised in Avenal. He graduated top of his class in 2010 and graduated from Georgetown University before moving back to Avenal where he is now the Associate Planner for the City.

The Avenal Theatre, located in the heart of Avenal, CA

Giving back to the community where he grew up is a personal motivation for Antony who spent his youth experiencing everything Avenal had to offer. He has been fascinated by Avenal’s rich history and has made it his mission to capture the community’s stories from those who lived them. His goal is to preserve those stories and share them with others, particularly those who have recently moved to Avenal as a way to instill an appreciation for the community and a sense of civic pride that connects all residents.

Antony, as Producer/Director has assembled Avenal-based partners and crew to produce this film with him:


  • Louisa Starne – Screenwriter, Editor
  • Nick Starne – Audio Supervisor, Editor
  • José Barraza – Film/Camera
  • John Preciado – Camera Assistant
  • José Chavez – Lighting
  • Esmeralda López Vargas – Interview Preparation, Make-up
  • Clarrisa Perez – Interview Preparation Make-up



  • Avenal Historical Society & Museum – Fiscal Agent and Lead Partner,
  • Avenal Rotary Club – Artifacts and locations,
  • City of Avenal – Locations and documents,
  • Avenal Chimes (local newspaper) – Artifacts,
  • Oasis Custom Computers – Local tech support,
  • Starne Media – Editing and mixing


Enjoy the premiere of “The Oasis in the Sun” at The Big Tell Showcase on Friday, October 19 at 7 pm at the Tower Theatre in Fresno.

The Big Tell, presented by Bank of America, is a regional filmmaking initiative for ten Central Valley filmmakers creating 5-minute mini-documentaries about incredible people, places, and events in the Central Valley.

All ten films will be screened at The Big Tell Showcase: Walk the red carpet starting at 6:00 pm before the show at 7:00 pm. For more information and to reserve a seat for this free, all-ages show, visit www.thebigtell.org.