|East Coast Premiere|
|Cast: ||Aurea Jolly, Nandini Minocha, Deepti Gupta|
|Crew: ||Producers: Elena Aksenova - Screenwriters: Shilpi Shikha Agrawal - Editor: Knar Kitabjian - Composer: Suad Bushnaq
Short synopsis: When a manual scavenger cannot continue her work, her 11-year-old daughter picks up where the mother left off. Long Synopsis: Dasi, a Dalit ("untouchable" caste) woman in a 2016 Indian desert village, dehydrates while manual scavenging, emptying dry non-flushing outdoor toilets for upper caste villagers. This leaves Amrita, her 11-year-old daughter, to finish this work and bring home the sustenance and water that they both need to keep surviving. Can Amrita do it without entering herself into this quietly violent cycle of abandonment? (Out)caste is a short film about an entrapment between generations of women, dictated by a 3,000-year-old social hierarchy, and takes place during one such moment of transition.
Shilpi Shikha Agrawal recently completed her MFA at the American Film Institute Conservatory. In 2016, she wrote, directed, & photographed her first two short films. The first was horror-comedy film 'Do Not Lose' (St. Louis International Film Festival, Portland Film Festival, Las Vegas Film Festival, Hollyshorts, and others). The second is her AFI thesis film, '(Out)caste', a Hindi-language drama that was just finished. Both films were shot entirely on 35mm.
Previously, she photographed indie feature film 'Millie and the Lords' (HBO Latino) and several narrative shorts while freelancing in New York as a cinematographer. She also worked as a set lighting technician, most notably on feature films 'Free the Nipple' (IFC/Sundance Selects) and ‘June Adrift’, and in the camera department of the Sundance Directors Labs for 3 years.
Shilpi was born in India, grew up in Texas, and currently splits her time between Los Angeles and north Texas. She is currently in development for her first feature as director.--'Cholesterol,' a comedic thriller set in rural north Texas.
While a fictionalization, (Out)caste is at the intersection of a modern day Dalit ("untouchable") woman's real experiences, which I have become deeply preoccupied with, and an all too personal emotional journey for me.
With this film, I want to shed light on an ongoing crime against humanity that largely goes unrecognized on the international stage, as well as by the Indian community. While doing so, I also want to explore this emotional undercurrent which I share with the characters of this film: This includes themes of desperation, parent/child dependency, and a complicated relationship with one's self worth.