Have a good idea for a short film? The Big Tell might help you make it a reality.

NOCO founder Amy Querin is the subject of Haley White’s ‘Unbound.’

You never know where your Big Tell idea might end up.

Take Haley White’s beautiful short film “unbound,” for example. This 2017 production, which focuses on the arts contributions of Fresno Dance Collective (NOCO) founder Amy Querin, is a featured local highlight in the upcoming Lunafest women’s film festival screening (3 p.m. Sunday, July 10, at the Mercedes Edwards Theatre in Clovis). The festival will be held both in person and online, White will be a special guest and talk about the making of “unbound.”

“unbound” started as a pitch to The Big Tell film competition, an annual event that highlights stories of California’s Central Valley. White applied for one of ten grants of $5,000 to professional, amateur, and student filmmakers to “produce a five-minute short documentary that highlights the innovative and inspiring people and places of the Central Valley.”

The deadline for applications this year is July 12. Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) is accepting applications from filmmakers of all skill levels and with subjects from Merced, Mariposa, Madera, Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties.

“It’s a really easy application process,” says White, who won another Big Tell grant in 2019 to make her film “Story Queens.”


According to CMAC, 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 into production.

White offers a couple of tips to filmmakers who are considering applying: Try to think of a distinctive topic that no one else would likely be doing. Consider an idea that reflects the geographical and cultural diversity of the Valley. And don’t be afraid to pitch several ideas.

When she won a grant to make “Story Queens,” for example, it was selected over several other ideas that she’d originally thought were stronger.

This is the sixth installment of The Big Tell. It’s funded by the James B. McClatchy Foundation and the Central Valley Community Foundation.

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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

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