February 13, 2015

‘Finding the Gold Within’ earns film award

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- “Finding the Gold Within,” a documentary that follows six African-American men through their first three-and-one-half years of college, is the John Michaels Film Award winner for the 2015 Big Muddy Film Festival at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. 

The 2014 film by Karina Epperlein looks at the successes and trials of the six students, alumni of the Alchemy, Inc., youth mentoring program in Akron, Ohio. The film, along with other entries in the category, is part of the 37th annual Big Muddy Film Festival, Feb. 24-March 1. Most of the festival’s venues are the Student Center Auditorium and Morris Library’s John C. Guyon Auditorium.  For the first time, screenings will also be on campus during the day. 

The category honors films that reflect and increase awareness on social, political and environmental issues.  The award honors the late John Michaels, an SIU Carbondale graduate student who earned his master of fine arts degree while here and was involved in community organizing and activism. 

The screening of “Finding the Gold Within” is at 3 p.m., Feb. 28, in the African-American Museum of Southern Illinois, located at University Mall in Carbondale. There will be a Q-and-A with three of the young men featured, after the film. 

There will be screenings during the festival of the five other entries in the John Michaels’ categories. “Arresting Power – Resisting Police Violence in Portland, Oregon,” directed by Jodi Darby and Julie Perini, earned second-place honors. 

A complete list of the screenings is available at bigmuddyfilm.com/.