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Finding the Gold Within

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School Bd/College/University DVD: $375
K-12 Single School DVD: $125


Grade Level: SrH-Adult
Producer: Video Project
Closed Captioned: Yes
Running Time: 92 mins
Country of Origin: United States
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2014
Available in French: No

What is it like to grow up as a Black male in America today? Finding the Gold Within provides a rare, intimate look into the lives of six young Black men from Akron, Ohio, each of whom is determined to disprove society’s stereotypes and low expectations.

The film follows the six for 3 ½ years as they make the challenging transition from high school through their first years of college. Along the way, they are faced with a variety of unexpected difficulties, from personal and family problems to overt racism. Each draws strength from a groundbreaking mentoring program for adolescents, Alchemy, Inc., which has been their second “family” since sixth grade.

In the embracing circle of Alchemy they speak with disarming honesty about their inner lives, trials and triumphs. Alchemy and its leaders have worked in the Akron and Cleveland area since 2003 mentoring urban youth. This innovative program uses ancient stories and myths, drumming and journaling to help develop self-knowledge, confidence, discipline and a determination to succeed – enabling young people to become the heroes within their own stories.

In the film, we witness the struggles, composure and growth of the six young men. Each is on his own path, and each is tested. Can he break free of society’s stereotypes of African-American men? Can he find the gold within? Despite hardships and disadvantages, the willingness of the six protagonists to be fully awake, to create new cultural identities, individually and collectively, is both revealing and inspirational.

By letting these young men speak for themselves, Finding the Gold Within provides an insightful contribution to the national dialogue about race and racism.

ADVISORY FOR LANGUAGE: Expletives and racially sensitive terms.

For assisting in discussion about race, plus a more in depth look at the Alchemy mentoring process and the lives of several film participants.
• Facing Racism – 23 Min - Excerpts featuring film protagonists candidly discussing the racism they encounter. A powerful discussion starter.
• Mentoring Summer Camp – 16:58 - The cycle of mentoring continues at an outdoor Alchemy session with college youth and 6th graders. Young and old recount their own stories of falling from grace.
• Father and Son – 5:17 - A moving, honest conversation about past estrangement and reconciliation as the good of the relationship emerges.
• Shawntrail’s Story, part 1 – 15:17 - Shawntrail recounts the death of this father, gets academic help in a poignant tutoring session, seeks advice from Alchemy mentor Kwame Scruggs regarding his mother’s problems, while playing basketball anchors him.
• Shawntrail’s Story, part 2 – 7:48 - Later, Shawntrail leaves college, joins the workforce, recounts the trauma of his trial, takes care of his little brother, reconciles with his mother, and reminisces with his high school coach.
• Imani and Family – 7:00 - Imani with his father, mother, and extended family talks about the pressure of his grandfather’s and father’s legacies, about death and the end of a relationship, and shares his thank you letter to his parents.

"With a lens that is both arrestingly artistic and at base sympathetic – this film is a portrait of young black males navigating through an unsympathetic world. It never succumbs to clichés that romanticize or dramatize, but provides a rare platform for the quiet voices of those in the experience." – Troy Duster, Emeritus Chancellor's Professor of Sociology, UC Berkeley


John Michaels Award, Big Muddy Film Festival


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