Directed by Karina Epperlein

Film Synopsis

What does it mean in America to be young, Black, and male? This documentary intimately follows six African American young men from Akron, Ohio, for more than three years as they prepare to leave home and enter college, hell-bent on disproving society’s stereotypes and low expectations. These young men have been equipped with self-knowledge, confidence, and critical-thinking skills thanks to the long-term mentoring they received from Alchemy, an innovative in-school program using storytelling, drumming, and journaling.

Active Cinema Participation

At MVFF 2014:

  • The film had its world premiere.
  • Its two scheduled screenings were both sold out, with five of the young protagonists in attendance for Q&As.
  • A third sold-out screening was added due to high demand and audience word-of-mouth.
  • The film was screened for 320 high school students as part of the Festival’s Education program
  • A live theatrical community presentation by the film’s protagonists (The Gold Within – Feel Us! Life as Myth, Poetry and Drumming) was co-presented by MVFF and First Missionary Baptist Church in Marin City, CA.
  • An additional presentation (featuring film clips, drumming and poetry) was provided for students at Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy, Marin City, CA as part of the Festival’s Filmmakers Go to Schools program.
  • In total: six days/evenings of screenings, Q&As, in-school presentations, performances, and radio interviews.

Active Cinema Impact

  • The film had two more sold-out screenings at The New Parkway Theater in Oakland, CA, which was a direct overflow from the interest generated at MVFF.
  • The film took part in CFI Education’s A Place in the World program in February 2015.
  • Similar multifaceted outreach with the protagonists was done at other festivals, including the Cleveland International Film Festival in March 2015.
  • An educational study guide was developed for use by middle and high school teachers their classrooms.
  • Several colleges have invited the film to screen at their Men of Color symposiums, workshops, and campus-wide events.
  • The film will screen at Case Western Reserve University in November 2015 as part of their Social Justice Think Tank, with two of the film’s protagonists and Angela Davis in attendance.
  • The film will screen at an after-school conference at Oakland Tech High school in December 2015, with one of the protagonists offering drumming and storytelling workshops.
  • See the full list of upcoming events:

From the Filmmaker

“All along I had envisioned a very creative audience engagement program with Finding The Gold Within. The six protagonists were to be at Q&As, do a theatrical presentation of their poetry and stories as well, and in this way learn how to facilitate the film on their own at festivals, colleges, and conferences. I wanted to try this out at MVFF, and the Festival was very open to my ideas, discussed them at length with me, and was extremely helpful in making this possible. Our world premiere at MVFF was a huge success!… And now, a year later, the film and young men are doing just what my vision was and what was first implemented at MVFF.”

How to See the Film

The film is currently available for educational use at:  

Free copies of the educational DVD are available for middle and high school teachers in return for student feedback.

It will be released on VOD and individual DVD in 2016. Check the film’s website for updates: 

How to Stay Active

Visit the film’s website for information on upcoming events and community partners:

Partner Organizations:

Alchemy, Inc.

Temescal Associates