Back to Illinois

I left my hometown of Urbana, IL, almost 21 years ago, with dreams of becoming a new age crystal-wielding hippie. I was 20 years old. Now I’m 40 (almost 41!) and will be returning with a feature film, for a film festival that didn’t exist when I was growing up. But first: the University of Chicago!

Who’da thunk back in 1988, that I’d be blogging about this in 2009? We couldn’t even imagine blogs back then.

7 comments to Back to Illinois

  • What a journey!! :-)

    Sometimes, I wonder if making plans is even worth it. Other times, I’m angry at myself for having coasted along all of my life. Depends on what part of the hamster’s wheel I’m clinging to that day. :-)

  • Jeff Weiner

    Mazel Tov, kid!

  • Hi —

    I watched your film earlier today (at Winston-Salem’s Riverrun festival — not Ebert’s Overlooked festival) and thought it was great! There are a lot of interesting animation ideas in there.

  • Ginna

    Thanks for bringing Sita and free culture activism and yourself back to ‘Bana for the feastdays of St. Ebert. And thanks also for The Stork. Were those NYC bedbugs or just cockroaches in Sita?

  • Sita was sublime. I am gonna go watch it again right now. Thanks for sharing! boy do I mean it!

  • rakesh

    My Review of Sita Sings the Blues:
    Hearing about this movie in the media leading up to Ebertfest made me super excited. As an atheist of Indian decent its nice to see another person’s perspective on my parent’s culture. Seeing a Urbana native coming back to the area also was intriguing.
    Watching the movie, the animation was amazing. The simple shapes made into amazing art was really cool. The concept of using the 1920s jazz with this piece was amazing. The shadow puppets were well drawn.
    The dialogue on the other side was appalling. The phrases that were funny when speaking about the Ramayana were not funny. The jokes were of ignorance and not comical in any sense An example of this: [Speaking about the exile of Rama] Shadow Puppet: They were exiled for thirteen years because… everyone forgets after 13 years. Thirteen years was because in India there is a squatter law. If no one shows up after 13 years, the property becomes the squatter’s. Just because none of your friends happened to know this, doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. And so is it okay to make fun of a law written in the vedas?
    The shadow puppets themselves were true of Indian people today. That being said the idea of an “Indian person” is a white person’s view. The three puppets voices were people of 3 different Indian states. Three different cultures. Three different languages.
    The Ramayana is told many different ways especially from state to state and even caste to caste in any given region. This would be the equivalent of having an Anglican from England, a Catholic from Spain, and a Lutheran from Germany all talking about Christ. The jokes would not have been funny had a scholar been speaking and therefore were out of ignorance.
    So in summary the animation, music, and sound were amazing. Especially for the conditions they were made under. The dialogue is just another white person shitting on culture that they don’t understand. Just because these opinions haven’t been voiced enough and well enough doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

  • I wish I’d known about the U. of Chicago screenings — that’s my alma mater. I was fortunate enough to see it at the Talking Film Festival in Evanston earlier this month, though the DVD projection left much to be desired. Can’t wait to buy the DVD (limited edition, of course!).

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