December 2015 volunteer in the spotlight: Satch Gonzales

When he’s not watching movies, writing, or volunteering for Filmworks, you can find Satch Gonzales working the chair massage table at Whole Foods in Fig Garden Village.
When he’s not watching movies, writing, or volunteering for Filmworks, you can find Satch Gonzales working the chair massage table at Whole Foods in Fig Garden Village.

Occupation: For the past five years, Satch has worked as a self-employed certified massage therapist. A big part of his business is doing chair massage at Whole Foods in Fig Garden Village. He can do specialized massage for relaxation, deep tissue, and sports injuries, among other modalities.

One of his specialties is lymphatic drainage, which is a type of massage that focuses on the immune system and the detoxification of the body. “I see it as preventative care for the body,” Satch says. “It speeds up detoxification, boosts the immune system. I, myself, have seen the benefits. When I’m getting a cold, I can give the massage to myself and it helps to head off the cold.”

Satch worked as a restaurant cook for several years, but he wanted to look instead for work that would be more helpful to others. “I had that mental switch,” he says, “where I decided to do something else, something more. I had back pain at the time and a friend gave me a gift certificate for a massage. I thought, hey, I could learn this.”

What are some of your hobbies outside of work? “I like to write. My first book is just starting to be edited now. I finished the first draft a few months ago, and I hope to self-publish it. So I’m kind of on pause for writing, during the editing phase. I’ve been writing since I was like 9 years old, mostly short stories.”

“In this book, I speak with angelic beings and I transmit those ideas to humankind. How to live, live virtuously, live a positive life. The format is question-and-answer. It’s kind of a different format choice, but that’s how it organically arose. It can be a bit heavy at times. But other times, it’s very simple. It’s a sort of holy book or a spiritual book, some poetry in between, some stories. … I feel like my generation and younger has been moving away from religion or spirituality. But with this book, this is kind of the mission for me, to help promote spirituality.”

What are some of your favorite movies? “I like lots of different genres. None are better than the others. One classic favorite is “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” I really liked westerns when I was a kid, really sparked my imagination. It’s a whole different world, but it’s still within the same world we live in. The acting in that movie was out of the norm for westerns of that time. The music sequences, the chase scene. I like that it always had some kind of momentum.”

“There’s “The Searchers” with John Wayne. John Ford is the director and he made a lot of good movies. It stood out to me, as a western, for the emotion. A lot of meaning there, searching for the young girl. It was moving to see that story. There’s “The Empire Strikes Back,” another one of my classic favorites. I’ve seen it probably a dozen times. I’ve come to see Star Wars as a space western. I do like the new Star Wars movie, but it’s not in my top five.”

“There’s “Children of Men.” It’s kind of dystopian, not really a genre that I like. But there’s so much momentum, and so groundbreaking for the cinematography. It was an unexpected favorite. And there’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” a pretty new choice. It was enchanting and fun. I have to watch a fun movie sometimes, not just serious subjects all the time.”

What’s your favorite film you’ve seen at Filmworks? “Definitely “Güeros,” that was my favorite so far. It’s something I didn’t really know very much about, the struggle for the students in Mexico at that time. Since at least part of my family is from Mexico, it drew my attention, how it compares to other student struggles in the U.S. and other countries. I liked the way it was made, very funny in parts. I learned from it. The filmmakers did what they could with what they had and I admire that.”

“A close second, “Tangerines.” Again, something I didn’t really know anything about, the conflict in Georgia. Anytime a film can bring that kind of awareness of events that happen in another part of the world, it’s a really good thing. We tend to gloss over so many things that have happened in the recent past. We need to take some kind of lesson and more knowledge from it.”

“The news rarely even covers a fraction of what’s going on in the world. We don’t know what we don’t know, right? So it’s good to get that information, but with a film it’s in a format that’s more digestible. My brain might gloss over when I hear about a war or a struggle somewhere I don’t know. But these movies give me the emotion of people on the ground. It makes me realize what others are going through, whatever epic struggles they face.”

What’s in your Netflix queue right now? “I don’t know, a lot! I watch a lot of movies. My girlfriend is very much more into movies than I am, so she supplies a lot of the movie choices. But I get to see them all.”

What movies are you excited to see next in the theater? “There’s “The Big Short.” That’s one that I really want to see. I’m definitely going to see “The Force Awakens” again. I will definitely see the next Avengers movie when it comes out.”

How did you first get involved with Filmworks? “My girlfriend invited me to come with her. It was something she had already been doing before me met, volunteering and seeing the films. She said it would be fun. I had already met Gloria Burrola before, through the Yoga Center of Fresno, and she was nice.”

“But really, [volunteering for Filmworks] is barely even like work! We’re there just having fun, helping people out with their snacks. And then we get to see the movie.”

What’s your typical volunteer experience with Filmworks like? “I’m typically the cashier at the concessions stand. I usually just show up and have a fun time. If we have a new volunteer there, we introduce ourselves and get to know them, show them how it’s done. We do get to see a lot of the same people come back again, every time. We do a bit of standing around at the start, and then we start seeing more and more folks buying popcorn and snacks until the movie starts. Then we go into the film from there.”

What’s one of your most memorable or unusual experiences with Filmworks? “I remember being super busy recently at the Swede Fest. The money was flying at me! And the snacks were flying back at the people. It was all a blur. I enjoyed watching the sweded films, the Star Wars ones especially. I haven’t seen the movie that the swede thing is based on. So going in, I didn’t know what to expect or what to think of it, people remaking these movies on their own in this really poor fashion just for fun. It’s something, I think, I would have wanted to do as a kid.”

What would you tell someone who has never been to Filmworks before? “If you haven’t come out before, you have to make time for it. Show up, try it. You don’t have to go to some movie that everyone else is seeing. Pick something different that you might like. The Filmworks people have a wide range of films that they try to bring in. Wait a month or two on those others. Here, you’ll see one you wouldn’t get to see otherwise. And, it’s also great for a date!”

Filmworks thanks all of our December 2015 volunteers: Frank Dougherty, John Dunning, Richard Flores, Trin Gibney, Megan Ginise, Satch Gonzales, Neal Howard, Andy Julian, Yvette Mancilla, Richard Markley, Monica Marks, Gene Richards, Richard Stone, Sky Sweet, Lorraine Tomerlin, Jon Veinberg.

To meet our past volunteers in the spotlight, and to find out how you can volunteer with Filmworks, visit our volunteer page.