'Inocente' Wins Academy Award

Photo by Disney ABC Television Group via Flickr

February 24, 2013; Source: Los Angeles Times

At the Academy Awards last night, the winner in the “Best Documentary Short” category was Inocente, which tells the story of teenage artist Inocente Izucar, who until recently was homeless in San Diego. According to the Los Angeles Times, “the film explores the issue of homelessness among youth while also capturing the power of art and ambition” and does so “with heart and wit.” The Oscar-winning film was produced by the nonprofit Shine Global. Shine Global is “dedicated to ending the abuse and exploitation of children worldwide through films that raise awareness, promote action and inspire change.”

Izucar was on stage with filmmakers Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine as they accepted the Oscar last night, although the young woman did not have a chance to speak given the Academy’s strict adherence to time restrictions on acceptance speeches. Accepting the award, filmmaker Sean Fine delivered an impassioned plea for solidarity among artists and support for the arts: “This young lady…was homeless just a year ago. She’s an artist, and all of you are artists. And we feel like we need to start supporting the arts. They’re dying in our communities…We need to stand up and help girls like her be seen and heard.”

Inocente producer Yael Melamede previously told the New York Times that she hopes the film will draw attention to issues related to homelessness, immigration and arts education, saying, “There are millions of Inocente’s out there…It’s just that people don’t normally take the time to listen to them.” Maybe some exposure via the Oscars will help in that regard. Meanwhile, the nonprofit-produced “Best Picture” nominee, Beasts of the Southern Wild, didn’t take home any Oscars, but considering that the film contained no professional actors, it was probably, as they often say, an honor just to be nominated. –Mike Keefe-Feldman