Documentary turns girl's life around

Inocente Izucar, the subject of "Inocente," will appear in person at the AIFF screening of the Oscar-winning short film
Inocente Izucarís life as a homeless teen in San Diego is featured in a documentary that will be showing next week at the Ashland Independent Film Festival. Her artwork has been featured in exhibits around the country. Prints of her paintings will be shown at Illahe Gallery and Studio.

Inocente Izucar went from homeless girl to the belle of the Academy Awards ceremony after her life story was featured in a documentary.

The documentary film and Izucar herself are coming to Ashland as part of the Ashland Independent Film Festival, which runs April 4-8.

Meet the Artist

Prints of Inocente Izucar's paintings will be on display and available for purchase at Illahe Gallery and Studio, 215 Fourth St., Ashland.

The short exhibit is open during Ashland's First Friday Art Walk from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 5, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 6.

Izucar will be at the gallery on Friday evening for an artist's reception.

Gallery owner Sue Springer said most of the proceeds from the sale of the prints will go to Izucar. The prints range in price from $25 to $200.

"They are bright, cheerful and delightful. They are so full of life," Springer said.

Called "Inocente," the 40-minute documentary is showing at noon Saturday, April 6, at the Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St.

It follows Izucar when she was 15 years old, living in homeless shelters with her siblings and mother. Her physically abusive father had been deported to Mexico, and Izucar's mother struggled to care for her children.

Izucar's life reached a low point when her mother planned to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge and tried to persuade her daughter to jump with her. Izucar talked her mother out of it.

The irrepressible girl turned to art, painting vibrant scenes and even her face. She was aided in her creative efforts by the San Diego nonprofit ARTS: A Reason to Survive.

After being homeless for most of her childhood, the now 19-year-old Izucar lives in an apartment and is breaking into the art world with exhibits around the country.

"There's nothing that can stop me from being an artist," she says in a promotional clip for the documentary.

The film was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Documentary Short category and won. Izucar was able to attend the Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 24 in a gown and heels, where she inspired celebrities with her story.

"Inocente" screens at the Ashland Independent Film Festival along with the 39-minute documentary "Open Heart," which tells the story of Rwandan children who received open-heart surgery.

The children's heart valves had been damaged from rheumatic fever, the result of untreated strep throat.

Tickets to popular films often sell out at the Ashland Independent Film Festival.

For information on tickets, visit www.ashlandfilm.org. The full schedule and list of films for the festival is also on the website.

For more information on Izucar and her art, visit www.inocenteart.com.

Ashland Daily Tidings reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.


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