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by Alece Oxendine
July 30th, 2012

Rooftop Films partners with the Fledgling Fund, DreamYard Project, and Shine Global to bring the power of art to the streets of New York with free events based around the documentary Inocente about a young woman defying the odds of homelessness. At 15, Inocente refuses to let her dream of becoming an artist be undermined by her life as an undocumented immigrant forced to live homeless for the last nine years.

In a celebration of Inocente’s triumphs and talent, Rooftop Films with the assistance of DreamYard Project will offer a free multi-medium art workshop for local youth, ages 8-18, using the power of cinema and art to inspire New York youth to creatively express themselves. In addition to these screenings, Rooftop Films and the makers of Inocente will be hosting free events in three New York City public high schools. These programs will take place in the fall-locations and dates will be announced at a later date.

DreamYard is excited to support this opportunity for NYC youth.  In the film, Inocente, we are reminded of the old adage, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” No matter the age, gender, ethnicity, or circumstance of a person, there is always a story, something beneath the surface, and in the case of Inocente, that something is passion, courage, and resilience. In these workshops, students will create self portraits made by lines of their poetry as a way of telling us who they really are on the inside.We know that art-making engages young people in creativity, critical thinking and problem solving and we are honored to partner with Rooftop Films to keep students engaged and thinking in a fun and inspiring way.

Locations and dates for arts workshops and screenings:

Tuesday July 31
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza 2nd Ave & E 47th St New York, NY 10017

4:30PM: Doors open for youth workshop
5:00PM: Film screening for workshop attendees
6:00PM – 8:00PM: Workshop & dinner
8:30PM: Public screening of Inocente and the short film Caine’s Arcade

Friday August 3
Metrotech Commons 5 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201

2:30PM: Doors open for youth workshop
3:00PM: Film screening for workshop attendees
4:00PM – 6:00PM: Workshop & dinner
8:00PM Doors open for public screening
8:30PM Live music by El Medio
8:30PM: Public screening of Inocente and the short film Caine’s Arcade

Tuesday August 7
Bronx Terminal Market 610 Exterior Street, Bronx, NY 10451

4:30PM: Doors open for youth workshop
5:00PM: Film screening for workshop attendees
6:00PM – 8:00PM: Workshop & dinner
8:30PM: Public screening of Inocente and the short film Caine’s Arcade

The Film:
Life as a teenager can be stressful: conflicts with your parents, pressure from your peers, constant self-doubt and soul searching. You’re trying to figure out who you are in the world, and the more you learn, the more confusing and overwhelming life may seem. Making art can be a powerful remedy for daily tension, a liberating way to express your feelings and ideas. For Inocente, a homeless teen in San Diego, making art provides a home base, a point of stability in an otherwise unsettled existence. As the child of a single, immigrant mother, Inocente has faced hardship her whole life. At the lowest point, her mother, desperately uncomprehending how to survive, almost sacrificed the entire family. Inocente, rather than folding under the pressure, has flourished. She’s never lacked for canvas, except perhaps at home. Struggling to fit in at an unsympathetic school, a place where the other kids always seem to have more than she does, wearing her art every day gives her the confidence she needs to face the world. Her brilliant use of color and her florid designs are enlivened by this elegant documentary, revealing the beautiful depth of her work and her personality.

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About Rooftop Films

Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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