Directed by Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine
2012, 40 minutes
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* 2013 Academy Award Winner, Best Documentary Short Subject
* A 2013 "Notable Video for Adults" as selected by the American Library Association
*2012 National Media Market Best of Show Winner
A powerful, moving documentary from the filmmakers of the Academy Award nominated War/Dance
delivers a rare glimpse inside the inspirational life of a homeless, undocumented fifteen-year old girl, a burgeoning artist, and the extraordinary challenges she must contend with on a daily basis.
In San Diego, a young teenage girl’s eyes stare into a compact mirror. She paints a dramatic black swirl around her eye. She never knows what her day will bring, but she knows at least it will always begin with color. At 15, Inocente refuses to let her dream of becoming an artist be destroyed by her life as an undocumented immigrant forced to live homeless for the last nine years.
Color is her personal revolution and its extraordinary sweep on her canvases creates a world that looks nothing like her own dark past – - a past punctuated by a father deported for domestic abuse, an alcoholic and defeated mother of four who once took her daughter by the hand to jump off a bridge together, an endless shuffle year after year through the city’s overcrowded homeless shelters and the constant threat of deportation.
Despite this history, Inocente’s eyes envision a world transformed…where buildings drip in yellow and orange, where pink and turquoise planets twinkle with rescued dreams, and one-eyed childlike creatures play amongst loved babies and purple clouds. Inocente’s family history is slowly revealed through her paintings.
Told in her own words, we come to Inocente’s story as she realizes her life is at a turning point, and for the first time, she decides to take control of her own destiny. Irreverent, flawed and funny, she’s now channeling her irrepressible personality into a future she controls. Her talent has finally been noticed, and if she can create a body of work in time, she has an opportunity to put on her first art show. Meanwhile, her family life is at a tense impasse – - if she legally emancipates herself from her mother to strike out on her own, she’ll risk placing her brothers in foster care, but to stay is unbearable.
is a timeless story about the transformative power of art, the challenges facing undocumented immigrants in this country, and the new face of homeless in America: children. But it is also a coming of age story about a brave young girl’s fierce determination to never surrender to the bleakness of her surroundings.
* Official Selection, Hot Docs Film Festival
* Winner, Special Jury Prize, Arizona International Film Festival
* Winner, Best Documentary Short, San Antonio Film Festival
* Winner, UNICEF Special Award - EBS International Documentary Film Festival
* Winner, Best Short Film, Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival
* Winner, Spirit Award, Awareness Film Festival
* Official Selection, United Nations Association Film Festival
* Official Selection, Cleveland International Film Festival
* Official Selection, Athena Film Festival
to read the fascinating New York Times
piece "Dreaming of a Life as Vivid as Her Art".
“A glowing portrait of a homeless 15-year-old illegal immigrant, a gifted painter living in San Diego who tells her story directly to the camera.” – Stephen Holden, The New York Times
"With heart and wit, the film explores the issue of homelessness among youth while also capturing the power of art and ambition.”- Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times
“ An extraordinary film, raising at once issues of arts education, homelessness, family violence, and immigration reform through its focus on a young woman with an amazingly compelling story
... Like so so many immigrant young people, who are receiving national attention through the opening of an opportunity for deferred action, Inocente has come through tremendous challenges and adversity with a spirit, talent, and commitment that are awe-inspiring. The film will trigger questions and promote progress on some critical social issues facing our nation”.
-Thomas A.Saenz, President and General Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund.
" Editor's Choice
casts light on the plight of homeless and undocumented children in America through the extraordinarily talented teenaged painter Inocente Izucar... This 2013 ALA-VRT Notable Video selection is highly recommended
." - Video Librarian
" Highly Recommended
.An engaging documentary about homelessness and hope from the viewpoint of soft-spoken, thoughtful, 15-year-old Inocente... it’s hard not to become caught up in her world." - Educational Media Reviews Online
“This poignant film gives face to homeless children and should prompt discussions about immigration reform, homelessness, and arts education. Recommended
for young adult readers...Teens will embrace Inocente and her story." — Candace Smith, Booklist
"Insanely inspiring" - Kate Kennedy, Glamour
"It is abundantly clear that Inocente has an endless passion for art, color, and life... Suitable for high school classes and college courses in cultural anthropology, anthropology of art, economic anthropology/anthropology of poverty, anthropology of children, anthropology of immigration, and American studies, as well as general audiences". - Anthropology Review Database