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“Finding the Gold Within” Santa Barbara Premier Film Screening

January 17, 2015 from 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

"Finding the Gold Within" follows six African American young men from an after school program called Alchemy, Inc. through their first two years of college.  Alchemy, Inc. is a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program award-winning program founded by Pacifica Graduate Institute Alumnus Kwame Scruggs, which uses myth, storytelling, and mentoring to help urban adolescents develop their purpose and dreams.  

Despite their high levels of confidence and critical thinking, the stark reality of being away from their families and communities brings a series of crises. A sister dies in a car accident; a home gets broken into, a brush with the law, racial jokes and provocations never seem to end.

Each young man is tested. Can he keep his eyes on the prize? Can he stay true to himself? Be it poetry, football, music, basketball, theatre, psychology, law, or international relations their dreams and goals change. Each of them is determined to disprove society’s stereotypes and low expectations. Many will have to overcome the fate of their missing fathers, some that of their scheming uncles or drug-dealing cousins.

In the intimate circle of Alchemy—which has been their “family” since sixth grade—they speak of their disappointments, despairs, trials and triumphs with a disarming honesty. Alchemy, Inc. and its leaders have been working in the school system in the Cleveland area, mentoring young black urban youth from middle through high school. Exploring ancient stories from diverse cultures, as well as drumming and writing, this innovative program gives the youth a chance to grow into self-knowledge, discipline and confidence. They are taught to “follow the sage within their hearts”.

The young men are allowing us to have an intimate look, but they are also looking back at us. They are stepping out of invisibility. Cinematically, the film is exploring America’s historically embedded fear of “blackness.” Each young man is on his unique path: how can he break free of the stereotypes of African-American men? Can he find the gold within? The willingness of our six protagonists to be fully awake, to struggle and create new cultural identities, individually and collectively, will inspire us all.

The screening will be concluded by a reception honoring the filmmaker Karina Epperlein, who will be joined by Kwame Scruggs, Founder & Executive Director of Alchemy, Inc., and most importantly, guests will get a chance to meet the six young men who are the subject of the film.  (Please RSVP at 805.679-6163).  


Event Details

  • Organizer/Sponsor: The Santa Barbara Fund
  • Starts: January 17, 2015 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
  • Price: FREE
  • Location: Pacifica Graduate Institute - 801 Ladera Lane, Santa Barbara, CA 93108
  • Website:
  • Sponsors: The Santa Barbara Fund