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Saving Santaland’ Offers Entertainment, Lessons on the Meaning of True Beauty



The producers of “The Farmer and The Belle: Saving Santaland,” Joel Bunkowske, Jenn Gotzon and Jim E. Chandler with executive producers, John Schneider and Daniel Brunner and actor Corbin Bernsen. (Photo Credit by Cordell Kingsley)

The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland” is more than a charming movie offering family entertainment for the Christmas season. It prepares young girls to not buy into the lie that one needs to be beautiful to be loved.

Actress and international model Jenn Gotzon, who stars and produces the film, shares with CNJ, the marketplace conveys falsehoods to young women.

“There’s a lie written inside a woman’s heart when she is just a little girl, and that lie is, ‘If you are beautiful, then you are worthy of love.’ What people will learn – women and men – in ‘The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland’ is God’s view on beauty clearly seen in the Bible,” she says. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are a treasured inheritance. It puts the focus of beauty on the heart and how we serve and love others.”

The story, filmed in Walker County, Ga., focuses on an aging model (Gotzon) returning to her small town before the holidays where she reconnects with an old friend, Josh (Jim E. Chandler), a farmer raising his 7-year-old daughter. Together, they join the fight to save the town’s famous Santaland festival and discover a miracle.

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“Too many women incorrectly learn as children that if they are beautiful, they are worthy of love,” says Gotzon, who also works with husband Chandler in the film. When she visited the Chandler family farm, she felt like a “fish out of water.”

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Just like her character.

However, they didn’t know the family farm would spark an idea to make a film. “It was only after we went through a fasting period from each other where Jenn was focusing on God and it was revealed to her the story (that became) ‘The Farmer and the Belle,’” says Chandler.

In the film, the lie drilled into a young Belle’s head is physical beauty is everything.

Bells says, “I know what I’m going to be when I grow up: beautiful. And everyone will love me.” The young Josh shoots back with a wise answer: “Beautiful is what’s on the inside and made by God.”

Gotzon also struggled in the past with the lie of false self-worth. She worked with Greg and Erin Smalley from Focus on the Family. They explained that she needed to replace it with God’s truth.

“We worked with test groups — with teen girls and mature women – and we put together a biblical pathway that’s applicable to be transformed under the renewal of your mind. We inscribed that pathway onto the bracelet that you see in the movie.”

The dynamic Christian duo ultimately hopes the audiences will embrace the movie and the message about self-worth, empowering girls and all women to focus on their true beauty in Christ. 

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9 ESV).”

The movie co-stars Corbin Bernsen (Major League, Psyche), John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard, Smallville), Robert Amaya (Courageous, Mom’s Night Out), Natasha Bure (Fuller House, Home Sweet Home), Sandra Ellis Lafferty (Walk the Line, Hunger Games), Henry Cho (McHale’s Navy, Saving Faith), Roxzane T. Mims (Greenleaf, Good Lord Bird), Delilah (I Can Only Imagine, The Star), and singing sensation Beckah Shae; with young talents Livi Birch (Tulsa, The Resident), Benji Russel, and introducing Adele Chandler. Directed by award-winning Wes Llewellyn.

By Corine Gatti-Santillo



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