At 15, Inocente Izucar Galicia had led a life few of us could ever imagine. For nine years, she lived with secrets she never shared with anyone at her school in San Diego, Calif. – she was undocumented and homeless. She says she blamed herself that her father was deported for domestic abuse. Her mother of four once took her by the hand to jump off a bridge together in order to put an end to the misery. It was Inocente who saved them.
No matter how devastating things got, Inocente still looks at life through the eyes of an innocent child, where all dreams are possible. She is an artist who spews out vibrant colors, making the world around her look like a colorful playground. Thanks to an award-winning documentary, “Inocente,” which tells her story, Inocente has been able to sell her art and is no longer one of the 1 in 45 children in the U.S. without a home. It will air on Friday, August 17 at 10pm on MTV.
“I wanted to put a face on all the issues going on,” says Inocente who narrates the entire documentary. “It’s nice to know that I was the one able to give a voice to it.”
Matt D’Arriago, the program director of ARTS: A Reason to Survive, of which Inocente was a part for four years, says the director of the film, Sean Fine, called him one morning.
“He was looking for a young teenage girl who was creating art to create resilience,” says D’Arriago. “Homelessness was the issue he was focusing on.”
D’Arriago says he knew Inocente would be perfect.
“I think she’s taught me more than ARTS has taught her,” he says. “Her ability to have the positive outlook that she does. She’s a remarkable human being. It’s nothing she tries to do, just who she is.”
Directors, Sean Fine, and Andrea Nix Fine started filming the documentary in 2009, and only finished a year ago. It has gained much acclaim in various film festivals, and even won “Best Documentary Short” at the 2012 San Antonio Film Festival. Most importantly however, it has shone light on Inocente and the way she views the world.
“All the awareness it’s been getting has made people want to buy my art,” says Inocente. “I travel to the screenings and try to sell my art there.”
The extremely shy, yet unflinching girl, who is now 18, says she is now able to support herself through her art.
“Now I live by myself,” says Inocente who has led a strained relationship with her mother. “I rented a studio apartment in San Diego.”
She says her mom and three brothers also live in an apartment now, because her mom found a job cleaning offices.
Inocente says although she feels her art is what will always be there for her, she has not stopped dreaming for more.
“I want to join the circus,” she says. “I want to do trapeze…The documentary has opened many doors for me, and I’m sure there’ll be a lot more to come.”
She says she has learned through experience to just think about tomorrow, it’s easier that way. That’s her message to the other homeless kids out there.
“It can only get better,” says Inocente. “I have a lot of impossible dreams, but I still dream them.”