The Prospector

Will Ernie win the next National Gold Panning Competition or will finding peace in the natural world ultimately outweigh the possession of another trophy?
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As Ernie eagerly prepares for the annual gold panning championships, he reflects on the past 50 years of a life genuinely intertwined between the natural world and a by-gone era, all while offering glimmering nuggets of wisdom in an effort to bridge the gap between a new generation to a dying craft.

Featured review

Without trying, this 18-minute, gorgeously shot doc is as timely and educational as it is quietly captivating. Depicted through Lazlo, the search for gold does not have to be the grossly extractive, climate-devastating practice that it’s come to be. On parallel with Lazlo’s reverence for the land is the cinematography that conveys it. Especially at this juncture in the planet’s history, The Prospector is uplifting, and will broaden the horizons of historians, educators, naturalists, and laypersons alike.
Mischa Geracoulis
Journalist and Educator


The Prospector is a quietly captivating lyrical journey following National Gold-panning Champion, Ernie Lazlo. We follow Ernie as he shares this wealth of geological, historical and prospecting wisdom with a new friend, all while unearthing an off-the-grid lifestyle deeply connected to nature, and a pet donkey named Nugget. Ernie’s reflections are quickly set aside as we witness his poignant run at the National Gold Panning Championship where he is determined to find the victory nuggets. As the competition swiftly rushes on, we not only start to speculate whether or not Ernie can win, but also if finding peace in the natural world ultimately outweighs the possession of another trophy. Through this film, Ernie highlights contemporary themes of sustainability, capitalism, and the preservation of the by-gone era. The Prospector will broaden the horizons of historians, educators, naturalists, and laypersons alike.

Awards and Screenings

Newport Beach Film Festival
Chagrin Documentary Film Festival
Banff Film Festival
Wild&Scenic Film Festival

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