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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sita Sings the Blues – Final


About a year ago this film premiered in the 2008 Berlinale and was competing for a Teddy Award, among other prizes. Then the animated movie was nominated in the 2008 Gotham Independent Films Awards where won the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You Award, director Nina Paley won the Emerging Filmmaker Award at the Denver International Film Festival and the movie is nominated at the Independent Spirit Awards in the Someone to Watch award.

The good news is that on March 7th the film will play on New York PBS station Thirteen WNET and will be available on the station’s web site. The film has a rather curious story that I reproduce here for all to know and hopefully learn that no matter how little you think your film could make, you better make deals with the legal owners of whatever you decide to include in your film. The article excerpt comes from the New York Times, was written by Margy Rochlin and you can read the full article here.

After the final credits rolled, the gangly, curly-haired Ms. Paley bounded onstage and announced, “You’ve all just participated in an illegal act.’ ” Though Ms. Hanshaw’s recordings are not protected by federal copyright, those who own the rights to the songs themselves charge tens of thousands of dollars that Ms. Paley does not have to use them — which is also more than independent distributors have offered for a theatrical release.

Because of an exception in the copyright act, public television stations can broadcast music without having to clear individual licenses, and Sita will be shown on the New York PBS station WNET on March 7, after which it will be available on the station’s Web site. “My thing,” Ms. Paley said in November, sounding glum, “is that I just want people to see it.”


The best news is that now many of us will have the incredibly good opportunity to watch the animated film –that I imagine could be similar to Persepolis- at the PBS station website from February 26th. To check the news in the PBS station go here where you can check the trailer (the trailer is also here) and for those interested here is the synopsis:

Sita is a goddess separated from her beloved Lord and husband Rama. Nina is an animator whose husband moves to India, then dumps her by email. Three hilarious shadow puppets narrate both ancient tragedy and modern comedy in this beautifully animated interpretation of the Indian epic Ramayana. Set to the 1920’s jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw, Sita Sings the Blues earns its tagline as “The Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told”.

I’m thankful to Ms. Paley for giving us this amazing opportunity and be sure that I’ll be watching the film.

Last Update

Just finished watching the movie and is truly awesome! Animation is great but the best is that the movie is structured similar to a Bollywood movie with songs and dances; the songs are 1920’s vocals by Annette Hanshaw and Sita in those moments really recalls Betty Boop. Fantastic! Most impressed with Nina Paley storytelling skills as the parallel stories, one about Sita and the other about Nina, are the best “man dump woman’ story that I have seen lately, if not ever!

A must be seen for those that like unusual animation, Bollywood movies and/or great women stories well told.

Enjoy!!!

Many thanks to robin for the direct link that is here.

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