Sita Sings The Blues is a beautiful animated movie exploring various versions of the Ramayana, with about five distinctly different visual styles and a soundtrack of 1920s jazz. It was written, edited, directed, conceived, and everything-else-importanted by Nina Paley. Everything else except distributed, of course. Because film distribution companies handle all that stuff. Right?
Not so in this case. Despite a growing mountain of well deserved accolades, Sita Sings The Blues cannot be distributed nationally due to rights issues related to the Annette Henshaw songs in the soundtrack. So Nina is doing that herself too. Check out the link above: she has negotiated and purchased a limited set of rights, enough to let her release her amazing film into the creative commons. Completely free, full, DVD-ready downloads are forthcoming. Also, due to there apparently being special rules for public broadcast stations, though the film can’t have a traditional distribution, WNET in New York is allowed to broadcast it. They will be doing so on March 7, and, more exciting, have already made the full movie available in streaming format from their website. (If you want a little taste before you watch the whole, approx. 90 minute movie, check out the trailer.)
So, Sita Sings The Blues: not only an utterly delightful work of art, but now also a fascinating experiment in movie distribution. I can’t wait for the downloads to go live. I know I will be giving DVDs away as gifts and having at least one viewing party. And I will definitely be dropping some money in the donation jar, because what Nina Paley is doing is new and exciting in about ten different ways at once, and deserves admiration and support.