Oscars 2013: ‘Inocente’ wins documentary short
With heart and wit, the film explores the issue of homelessness among youth while also capturing the power of art and ambition. The film “Inocente” chronicles the struggles and hardships of fifteen-year-old Inocente Izucar’s journey as a homeless teenager and undocumented Latina who moved around 30 times within nine years with her mother and siblings, mostly calling the streets of San Diego home. Izucar held on to her determination to become an artist in the face of a bleak future and won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject during the 85th Academy Awards.
After her father was deported for domestic violence, Izucar, her mother and her siblings became homeless in San Diego. The family moved from shelter to shelter. Izucar’s mother says things got so hopeless that plans were made for the entire family to jump off the Coronado Bay Bridge before Izucar talked her out of it. For much of Inocente’s life, the emotions of living on the streets were hard to escape.
When she was 12, she was referred to a local nonprofit group, ARTS: A Reason To Survive. The group teaches the therapeutic aspects of art. The teen experimented with photography and painting and successfully turned her coping method into talent. She was drawn to vibrant colors and abstract art. Directors discovered Izucar’s story after she was profiled in a local newspaper, then began the two-year filming process when she was 15.
“You could see the transformation as she got into the painting, she’d get lost,” said Matt D’Arrigo, the founder of the group.
Recently, she had her first art exhibition in New York. Most of her pieces sold, which enabled her to get off the streets and into an apartment. She now lives in Chula Vista.
“Inocente” producer Yael Melamede hopes the film brings attention to the issues of teen homelessness, immigration and the importance of arts education.
Click here to look at samples of Izucar’s art!