When it was announced that the film Inocente won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short the directors, Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine, went up on stage to accept their award and took Inocente with them. In his acceptance speech Sean Fine thanked Inocente, “Most of all, we want to thank this young lady who was homeless just a year ago and now she’s standing in front of all of you.” The win has thrust her into the spotlight. Her website has been flooded with orders for her artwork. She has received countless requests for interviews, offers for college scholarships, and invitations to showcase her work. The next day, she reflected on how to use her newfound celebrity and told her local news station in San Diego that, “I feel honored to be a voice for those who have no voice. I want to be an advocate and inspire kids.”
The process of making the film itself can also serve as an inspiration to indie filmmakers. It is the first time a crowdfunded film has won an Oscar. Last summer, the team behind the film (including John Leguizamo, Executive Producer) set up a Kickstarter page hoping to raise $50,000 for post-production costs and to set up a website. Within a month, and with the help of close to 300 backers they reached their funding goal.
Her voice carries the film as she narrates the challenges she has faced and as the camera trails the swirls of her paintbrush. Her profound sadness and pain find their way down her face in tears but are wiped away by her boundless ability to bounce back from adversity. She fantasizes about walking on clouds, riding shooting stars, and trees that can talk and then paints her daydreams onto a canvas. She says, “I have a lot of impossible dreams but I still dream them.” It’s her ability to imagine fantastical things and dream about the future that push her forward and drive her desire to paint bright, colorful images. And its her dogged ambition that continues to motivate her. She says, “If you want your dreams to come true you have to make them comes true.” Inocente has done just that having landed on the world’s largest stage, the Academy Awards, after being homeless and undocumented.
Written by Juan Caceres and Vanessa Erazo, LatinoBuzz is a weekly feature on SydneysBuzz that highlights Latino indie talent and upcoming trends in Latino film with the specific objective of presenting a broad range of Latino voices. Follow @LatinoBuzz on Twitter and Facebook.