Special Guest: Oscar Torres

7 pm. Friday, April 8. Wealthy Theatre. (map)

Oscar Torres will introduce his film Innocent Voices and participate in a discussion after the film.

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This event is sponsored in part by a generous grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Synopsis

Innocent Voices tells a very personal story wrapped within a larger political context. Based on the memoirs of writer/producer Oscar Orlando Torres, the film hearkens back to the 1980s and the brutal civil war that devastated El Salvador.

Much like in many Central and South American battles, the struggle pitted an authoritarian regime against communist guerillas. The victims, as usual, were the unaligned citizens caught in between. Atrocities were documented on both sides, and the war lasted for a dozen years, ending in 1992 when both sides signed a U.N.-sponsored peace treaty.

For Innocent Voices, however, politics represents background. This is the story of one child’s harrowing ordeal surviving a war. That it happens to be El Salvador is a quirk of history. It could just as easily be one of any number of similar struggles that have occurred in dozens of countries across the world. Civil wars by their nature are often brutal and bloody with thousands of innocent victims. What happened in El Salvador from 1980 until 1992 was no different. A film like Innocent Voices puts faces to what might otherwise be statistics.

Biography

writer/producer of Innocent Voices (Voces Inocentes) , producer/writer/director of La Vida No Es Igual (Life Is Not The Same), a film about the children that live in the streets of Latin America and the now completed production of En Tus Manos an anti-violent film about a young boy trapped in the gang life of Colombia which recently just won the 2010 Beverly Hills Film Festival and the Spirit Quest Film Festival.

Torres’ latest film to hit theaters and now on DVD is Mancora was directed by Peruvian director Ricardo de Montreuil. His upcoming film Viento en Contra starring Mexican leading lady Barbara Mori is now in post production due in theaters later this year.

Born in the rural village of Cuscatancingo, El Salvador in 1971, Oscar Torres was caught in the crossfire of the country’s 12 year civil war. Almost as dramatic as the story of his survival during the conflict, which is depicted in Innocent Voices, are the events of his escape, alone, to the United States in 1984, at thirteen. Against all odds he was eventually re-united with his mother and three siblings.

In 1990, Torres entered the Latin American Studies program at the University of California at Berkeley. Four years later, he headed back to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. His first job in the entertainment industry was as a delivery boy for a talent agent who eventually agreed to represent him for appearances in commercials.

As an aspiring actor Torres made ends meet with those commercials, until he began to get work in theater and on television series such as ER, First Monday, Lifetime’s Any Day Now, CSI:Miami, among others, as well as in several independent films.

Torres is currently writing and producing several projects including Madre de Dios a romance drama about the destruction of the rain forests in Peru starring Mexican star William Levy; The Mexican Singer – a romantic comedy about the magical music of Mariachi with Lionsgate Films and Mexico’s Televisa;  An Adaptation of Pulitzer Prize Winning Book Enrique’s Journey a film about a child traveling atop the freight trains through Central America, Mexico and the United States in search of his mother; The Americans a dramedy about three Americans heading south of the border. A Television Pilot titled The Border a one-hour drama that explores Immigration in the United States seen through the eyes of a young Latin Attorney; A compelling true story titled No Mountain Too High being produced with Canada and Mexico, among others. Hombre de Piedra a film directed by and starring Mexico’s greatest Eugenio Derbez (Under the Same Moon). Coco-the story of surfing champion Coco Nogales a film now in development with producer Lucas Foster. Hummingbird a dramedy about a girl who sucks the nectar out of life, but can’t seem to keep it down- a film directed by Jerry Sandoval.

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