Inocente Izucar was born into a homeless family, her family moving from shelter to shelter, occasionally having to sleep on the streets. The memories of her father were not so pleasant. One day things got out of control when she forgot to follow his instructions, causing her father to lash out. The mother was afraid that he might kill Inocente and called the police. The police arrested her father and he was deported to Mexico.
Inocente is an intensely personal documentary, directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine about a young homeless girl from San Diego who has ambitions to become an artist. Though homeless and undocumented, she refuses to surrender to the bleakness of her surroundings. The film received the Academy Award for Best Documentary this year and was screened on Thursday, March 14th at City College.
Seeking new opportunities to express herself, Izucar joined a community art group for kids with homeless families (San Diego’s ARTS “A Reason To Survive”) a non-profit organization. Through art, she channeled her guilt and frustrations towards her everyday struggle to survive. She created a world of her own, using her creativity to display her emotions on an open canvas. Her dedication and fearlessness paid off, and she was invited to fill an art gallery within a 48 hour period for a special exhibit. She did very well and sold all of her paintings, but left one behind for herself because she cherished it and no dollar value could amount to its meaning to her.
Suicide is not a foreign concept for Izucar. Nor is the unwavering guilt felt about her role in seeing her abusive father deported, leaving her to struggle alone with her mother and two brothers, jumping from shelter to shelter in perpetuity, all while trying to keep her family together, despite the lack of support from her mother.
Having never lived in one place for longer than three months, Izucar said, “Everyone treasures his or her things. It’s unfair for kids to have to carry their stuff around in bags. 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.”
One in every 45 kids is homeless in the U.S. The director’s portrait of this young girl idolizes her dedication in not becoming just another statistic. Since working on the documentary, Izucare, now 19-years-old, moved into her own apartment which she shares with her two adopted pet rabbits.
Izucar continues to inspire people with her upbeat attitude and immense creativity.