SF fest

Indian filmmaker Riddhi Majumder’s debut film, “Pariah,” has been selected as the centerpiece piece of the 22nd edition of the SF Independent Film Festival. Ronny Sen’s “Cat Sticks” is also on the lineup. (Riddhi Majumder/Facebook photo)

Indian filmmaker Riddhi Majumder’s riveting dystopian drama, “Pariah,” has been chosen as the centerpiece film of the 22nd SF Independent Film Festival, which will bring new independent films and digital programs from around the world to San Francisco audiences.

Indian filmmaker Ronny Sen’s “Cat Sticks” is also on the lineup of the festival, which will be held Jan. 29-Feb. 13 at Roxie Theatre and Victoria Theatre in San Francisco, Calif.

In “Pariah,” which will see its U.S. premiere at the festival, an outsider finds himself on the fringes of an idyllic village, a seemingly thriving civilization, according to its official description. He ventures into the village for sustenance but is greeted with severe animosity from the inhabitants. Fueled by suspicion, the village despot resorts to weaving a web of paranoia and brands the outsider’s presence as an “attack on our society and culture.” Pariah raises searing questions on the coexistence of humanity and the inane belief systems of a society.

The debut feature by writer-director Majumder, said SF IndieFest, is an “ardent attempt to recreate a society where religious and political convictions tragically turn to mass hysteria.”

The 106-minute film will premiere Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. at Roxie Theatre.

A gritty and haunting narrative, “Cat Sticks” follows the stories of several addicts looking for the high of halogen, a synthetic brand of heroin that created havoc in India at the turn of the millennium.

Here’s the official description for the 94-minute film: “On a rain-soaked night in India, the aimless lives of several young people crystallize into a sympathetic portrait of addiction.  The city’s nearly empty streets create a stage for the petty crime, meandering conversations, and surreal encounters that accompany each of the characters’ search for the unsustainable high of ‘brown sugar.’ The result is visual poetry that gives these lost souls a necessary spotlight without beautifying their struggle.”

“Cat Sticks” will be screened Feb. 8 at 9:30 p.m. and Feb. 12 at 9:15 p.m. at Roxie Theatre.

For tickets and festival schedule, visit www.sfindie.com.

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