Is There A Business Model For A Movie Without Copyright?
Sita Sings the Blues is an 82-minute animated film that combines autobiography with a retelling of the classic Indian myth the Ramayana. The film is written, directed, edited, produced and animated by a single woman, Nina Paley, who spent three years on the making. It also put her more than $20,000 in debt.
The film is extraordinary in many different ways, including the motivation behind its creation, the way it has been funded, and the way it is currently marketed and distributed.
In 2002 Ms. Paley followed her husband from their home in San Francisco to western India. There she became acquainted with the Ramayana’s tragic saga of the Hindu goddess Sita, who is exiled by her husband, Rama, who fears she has been unfaithful after she is abducted by a demon king.
While she went on a business trip to New York, her husband sent her an e-mail message telling her not to come back. In “grief, agony and shock,” she stayed in Manhattan, camping out on friends’ sofas. At one of her hosts, a collector of vintage records, she became familiar with Annette Hanshaw’s music. One of her songs was a perfect match together with Rama’s rejection of Sita. Ms. Paley being an animator herself, the idea of producing a film out of these elements came naturally to her, however, she didn’t have the money, or the emotional resources, to make more than a short film.
That film, “Trial by Fire,” turned out to be such a success that Ms. Paley started to expand it. “It sounds dumb, but the movie wanted to be made,” she said. “There was this music and this story. It was like: ‘Someone’s got to make this movie. I guess it’s going to be me.’” (Rochlin, 2009)
In 2008 November, “Sita Sings the Blues” opened the San Francisco International Animation Festival, along with the Museum of Modern Art’s annual series ‘Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You in New York’, where it won a Gotham Award. Continue reading Sita Sings The Blues →