Thursday, January 10, 2013

Nuestro Cine: The Artist

This morning the nominees for the 2013 Academy Awards were announced.  Among those films that made it to their respective Oscar categories are Chilean film “No” and the feature documentary “Searching for Sugar Man” that focuses on Mexican-American folk singer Rodriguez.  Another documentary that could win an Oscar highlights the work of a young Latino striving to speak out through her art.

Inocente” is named after its main subject: undocumented immigrant Inocente Izucar.  She has reportedly moved more than thirty times in nine years along with her mother and three brothers.  Her nomadic lifestyle included stints in homeless shelters along with her family and occasionally living on the streets.  Inocente also endured family abuse that led to the deportation of her father and a difficult relationship with her mother.

 “When I was little, I didn’t think it was weird. But as I got older, I began to see that other kids at school had houses to live in. I didn’t tell people at school I was homeless. It was my secret,” she said to Fox News Latino.

It was during her brief period at the Monarch School for homeless kids where Inocente would find her true voice.  Her colorful and vibrant artistic work caught the eyes of teachers and members of A Reason To Survive (ARTS), a non-profit program that organized therapeutic arts-based programs.  Inocente’s creativity also captured the attention of filmmakers Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine who decided to rework their planned film on homeless youth to concentrate on Inocente.

Since the film was made three years ago, some aspects of Inocente’s life have changed for the better.   She is able to support herself by selling her artwork for as much as $5000 apiece, which has allowed her to move into a small apartment in San Diego and continue painting.  Despite the strained ties to her mom, Inocente has not stopped dreaming of a better future for herself and her family:
“I want to join the circus,” she says. “I want to do trapeze…The documentary has opened many doors for me, and I’m sure there’ll be a lot more to come.”
She says she has learned through experience to just think about tomorrow, it’s easier that way. That’s her message to the other homeless kids out there. 
“It can only get better,” says Inocente. “I have a lot of impossible dreams, but I still dream them.”
“Inocente” has been featured in several film festivals and aired on MTV last August.  Below is the trailer to the film that will be vying to win the Oscar for top short documentary at the Academy Awards ceremony on February 24th:
Inocente Official Trailer from Shine Global on Vimeo.

Video Source - Vimeo

Online Sources – The Latin Americanist,, Fox News Latino, NBC Latino

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