Sita Sings The Blues

"An animated version of the epic Indian tale of Ramayana set to the 1920's jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw"

Sita, the heroine, reminds me a little of the immortal Betty Boop. But her singing voice is sexier. Paley synchs her life story and singing and dancing with recordings of the American jazz singer Annette Hanshaw (1901-1985), a big star in the 1920s and 1930s who was known as "The Personality Girl." Sita lived around 1000 BCE, a date which inspires lively debate among the three Indians discussing her. But when her husband outrageously accuses her of adultery and kicks her on top of a flaming pyre, we know exactly how she feels when Annette Hanshaw sings her big hit, "Mean to Me."

There is another level. In San Francisco, we meet an American couple, young and in love, named Dave and Nina, and their cat, named Lexi. Oh, they are in love. But Dave flies off to take a "temporary" job in India, Nina pines for him, she flies to join him in India but he is cold to her, and when she returns home she receives a cruel message: "Don't come back. Love, Dave." Nina despairs. Lexi despairs. Cockroaches fill her apartment but she hardly notices. One day in her deepest gloom she picks up the book Ramayana and starts to read. Inspiration begins to warm the cold embers of her heart.-Sun times

This whole film is an effort of single soul - Nina. Nina is betting on audience to raise money.The whole concept is borrowed from free and open source software movement. The film is released under creative commons where anybody is allowed to download and screen the movie. The users or film buffs will contribute money to the creator if they like the product. Its working pretty well in software world. I am not yet sure about creative world.

This is what she had to say when somebody asked, How are you going to make money?

I’m betting that you, audience, can find me more money - and certainly wider distribution - than a commercial distributor could. I get wonderful emails from people like you, people who offer to set up little fundraising screenings, who write good reviews, and do lots of things to help. Audiences are so eager to help distribute films! Old-school commercial distributors not only ignore the power of the audience, they actively fight it, calling it “piracy” and “theft” for example. And the audience comes up with much better ideas than I or a distributor could (I didn’t think of doing fundraising screenings, you did). And once I free the film, I won’t have to do any more work on it! You, the audience, can take care of everything. - Filmaker Nina Paley

Now go ahead download the movie, watch it with others and then tip her. Even $1 makes lot of sense. ( $2 = cost of watching movie at a local theater in India)

BTW the first edition of BRTFF in 2009 is scheduled for April 4th 5th. We are planning to screen Sita Sings The Blues. You can register yourself at BRTFF website.

3 Responses

  1. dhempe says:

    BRTFF5 is on April 5th actually, 10am to 6pm. Details here:

  1. August 8, 2009

    […] Sings the Blues” Following a reco by a colleague at work, I finally got to see “Sita Sings the Blues”. I’m impressed – very, very nicely […]

  2. January 27, 2011

    […] a reco by a colleague at work, I finally got to see “Sita Sings the Blues”. I’m impressed – very, very nicely […]