Four years ago Inocente Izucar was a 15-year-old homeless girl living on the streets of San Diego and dreaming of becoming an artist when she met filmmakers Sean Fine and Andrea Nix. Last year the award-winning documentarians took to the crowdfunding site Kickstarter to raise funds to finish and promote their film about Inocente, an early edit of which had already won prizes at the Arizona International Film Festival and the Awareness Fest. This Sunday, the short documentary "Inocente" became the first Kickstart-backed film to win an Academy Award.
"Thank you so much Sean and Andrea for believing in me," Inocente wrote on her Facebook page on Monday to accompany a photo of herself with actor Daniel-Day Lewis, who also won an Oscar statue Sunday night.
The now 19-year-old artist enjoyed herself at the parties after the awards ceremony, where she met everyone from "Harry Potter" actor Daniel Radcliff to Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler. "When you've got an Oscar in your hand, you can talk to anyone you want," she told Fox News Latino.
Fine told the Wall Street Journal that Kickstarter – where they raised more than $52,000 – not only helped them to finish the documentary but to create a market for it. "We were kind of three-quarters done with the film, and we were trying to find more money to make the film, and we decided to do something with Kickstarter ... It really helped galvanize the community and get the word out about the film, and it ... kept us going basically through the post-production process."
The documentary not only shows Izucar's struggles and determination to succeed as an artist after her abusive father's deportation, it highlights, as the filmmakers put it, "the current lightning rod issues of immigration and homelessness in America."
You can watch the trailer for "Inocente" below, or download it for $7.99 through iTunes. Prints of artwork seen in the film can also be purchased through Inocente's art website, which just launched last week.