Sarah Linder Gonzales is an amateur filmmaker and mother of five. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sarah has a special place in her heart for service, particularly the work featured in her film, “Raisins Made with Love,” a mini-documentary about the 10,000 volunteers that come from all over the central valley to Madera, California, where The Church has an 80 acre vineyard dedicated to donating raisins for disaster relief and feeding the hungry around the world.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints owns the vineyard as part of a welfare project located in Madera, California. The vineyard’s caretaker, Jamie Hanson has been working in the vineyard since he was 4 years old. In the film, an interview with Jamie highlights the process and role of volunteers in bringing the grapes from the farm to the table. Up to 200 tons of these Central Valley raisins end up in the hands of people in need, survivors of natural disasters, and refugees around the world. On a national level, they first go to the Central Bishop’s Storehouse in Salt Lake City, Utah, then they are shared with food banks, soup kitchens, rescue missions and more.
Sarah’s goal in creating this film is to display the impact this unique farm has for good on the 10,000 people volunteering and serving in the vineyard and the positive way something so small, like raisins, can help make the world a better place. Sarah says, “This is a way for us to celebrate the power of farming, service, and community to do good.”
In addition to filmmaking, Sarah’s creative pursuits include acting and an ongoing effort to develop her writing skills. This work runs in the family as her husband Sammy Gonzales is a partner in the local film company Team Ro Productions which helped her get into film production.
Other influences on Sarah’s filmmaking include Luc Besson’ stunning visual work, and the humor and story-telling styles of Joss Whedon and Rebecca Rand Kirshner.
Sarah’s passion to create this film comes from her love of people and the “warm fuzzies” that come from working together as a community to serves others. Sarah says, “I hope [the audience will] feel inspired to find ways they can serve others in the community.”
Enjoy the premiere of “Raisins Made with Love” 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.