Karinafilms Newsletter #1
Berkeley, November 25, 2012

Dear Friends,

For the past two years, I have been delving into a new cinematic adventure:
Finding the Gold Within, a feature documentary. By now, I am deeply involved and want to finally share a bit, and ask for your feedback and support. Watch the 5-minute trailer!


Finding the Gold Within
probes what it means to be young, black, male and “other.”
The project comes with a rare kind of intimate access – an unusual opportunity. It initiated in me the filmmaker a clear, strong vision: young black men who have been prepared and are ready to navigate the world in non-ordinary ways. It seems the right time to look deeper, to give voice to those marginalized; we all know the abysmal statistics. What better way than through personal success stories?
Let me introduce to you six young black men from Akron, Ohio: Shawntrail, Darius, Tyler, Imani, Brandyn and Stacee. For seven years, through middle and high school, they have been nurtured by Alchemy, Inc., exploring ancient mythology to the beat of the African drum. 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”.

Watch current 5th graders (December 2011)
Exciting News:
This past Monday, November 19th, Alchemy’s founder Dr. Kwame Scruggs was honored by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Award.  A much deserved boost!

The six protagonists of Finding the Gold Within are now in their second year of college, all doing very well. Since leaving home, life has dealt tough hands to some of them. But they have been surprising themselves, as well as those around, testing what it might mean to become the hero of their journey.
Having visited three times in 2011 and three times in 2012, our extensive footage captures them individually – as well as in twice yearly reunion workshops with Alchemy – sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings, trials, successes, and dreams. The young men are so aware of their collective responsibility to break stereotypes and succeed.

With 85 percent of our footage already filmed, I have invited the six protagonists of Finding the Gold Within to visit the San Francisco Bay Area for a week in 2013 (March 10 – 16).
They’ll give presentations at two high schools in Marin County and an interview at Youth Radio in Oakland (they received a White House award as well!); we’ll do more filming, sightseeing and a night of sharing with an invited audience. I want to make this an unforgettable experience for them and their chaperone Andre from Alchemy.
Are you ready to help Finding the Gold Within
and glimpse more of the young men?

As of now, we have raised just over $200,000
in funding and in-kind donations. We have
$20,000 for the March visit and need to raise
only $8,000 to make it possible.

Any amount you can afford will make a difference
and will be greatly appreciated!

Contributions are tax-deductible.
Thank you!
Contribute with credit card
 Or make a check to CID (Center for Independent Documentary is my fiscal sponsor) & send to Karinafilms, 641 Euclid Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94708
Here is a link to the 15 min Select Reel
Password: GOLDnov252012
 (click play, then pause, let download, grey line moves to left,
then play without any stutter, our footage is full HD, hi-res)

Password valid for one week!
Please write me your comments, thoughts, and reactions! Or any ideas for offering your help!  Thank you!

What you will get

For $50 or more, we’ll send you a Vimeo link to
one work-in-progress portrait of youth: A taste
of how I am approaching
Finding the Gold Within.
$100     =  link to one portrait, plus two “tickets” to
                 meet the young men in March.
$150     =  the above, plus additional link (2 links)
$200     =  the above, plus additional link (3 links)
$250     =  the above, plus additional link (4 links)

$300     =  the above, plus additional link (5 links)
$500     =  the above, plus additional link (6 links), plus mention of name in film credits!
$1,000  =  Become an angel - we do need them! All the above and you will be invited to special work-in-progress screenings! We would like to share with you along the way.
How we will use your contributions
$150 will cover a modest lunch for 12 (six protagonists, their chaperone from Alchemy, me and the film crew)
will cover the cost of driving to visit Muir Woods, Point Reyes, etc,
will cover one day of production assistant,
will cover 2 nights for the seven guests at YMCA in Berkeley,
will cover  one day of cinematographer (I will be doing second camera).
At present, we are editing furiously on preliminary portraits of the selected youth and mentors, and reunion workshops. By March 2013, we will have caught up with all footage. Then the story-building begins, figuring out how the pieces fit together.
May your life be full, round and exciting, may you walk in peace.
PS: Our Future Plans
In June 2013, we will visit Akron for the last time, filming more interviews, and family scenes, and most of all the special summer camp of Alchemy, Inc. in which the “elder” Alchemy graduates will be learning how to work with myth with the younger youth, giving back as has been the repeated demand of their mentors. A cycle completes itself.

Read about Alchemy, Inc., their mission and success:
Later next year, it will be about the home stretch: finding the necessary funds to complete the feature length documentary in broadcast quality, and launching national and international release for 2014: theatrical run, film festivals, TV, educational distribution. Finding the Gold Within is a big project!
Copyright © *2012* *Karinafilms*, All rights reserved.
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