Oscar Torres To Screen, Discuss Oscar-Nominated Innocent Voices

Actor and writer Oscar Torres, who co-wrote the award-winning 2004 feature film Voces Inocentes (Innocent Voices), will visit the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum on Monday, Oct. 24 for a screening and discussion of the film, which is based on childhood struggles to avoid conscription in his native El Salvador during the civil war.

Following its release, Innocent Voices earned several awards in the international film festival circuit, including Best Feature Film at the 2005 Berlin Festival, and was Mexico’s entry for the 2005 Academy Awards.

To accommodate a viewing of Torres’ film, traditional start-times for the evening’s activities have been altered. A reception will be held at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 5:30, and a screening of the film from 6 to 8 p.m. A discussion and interview with Torres, conducted by Gaston Espinosa, assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies, will conclude the program, with time for questions from the audience.

A resident of Los Angeles, Torres, 33, co-wrote the screenplay with director Luis Mandoki, basing it on his boyhood struggle to dodge the government’s routine youth roundups and bear the harrowing alternativefighting for the guerilla movement, Farabundo Marti para la Liberaci?n Nacional, at the age of 12.

In a recent interview, Torres said he hoped his film would bring renewed attention to the plight of child soldiers: “This isn’t just a story about me, but about all the other kids that are living this nightmare now.”

Mandoki told reporters that during filming, Torres would sometimes disappear. “Later I would find him crouching under a tree, crying,” he said.

Torres’ visit is sponsored by The Family of Benjamin Z. Gould Center for Humanistic Studies; the Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights, the CUC Chicano/Latino Student Affairs Center, and the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum.