Seder-Masochism festivals, September-October 2018

Festivals marked with * and Bold are ones I’m attending in person!

 

Athens International Film Festival
Athens, Greece
September 19-30

AnimaSyros
Syros, Greece
September 26-30

Ottawa International Animation Festival
Ottawa, Canada
September 26-30 2018

Vancouver International Film Festival
Vancouver, Canada
September 27-October 12 (SM screenings October 3 & 4)

Mill Valley Film Festival
Mill Valley, CA
October 4-14 (SM screenings October 8 & 9)

The Goddess Animated
Capitola, CA
October 14

Animation Is Film
Los Angeles CA
October 19-21 (SM screening October 19)

Fredrikstad Animation Festival
Fredrikstad, Norway
October 25-28

AniNation International Animation festival
Jerusalem, Israel
October 24-27

Big Cartoon Festival
Moscow, Russia
October 26-November 3

 

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Seder-Masochism Wikipedia article

Screenshot 2018-09-10 11.40.21 Screenshot 2018-09-10 11.40.49

Today (September 10 2018) it was on Wikipedia’s main page, so I got screenshots for posterity. The article itself is here. As of my last reading it had not yet been defaced by misogynists! But sooner or later it will be.

Screenshot 2018-09-10 12.04.14

Where is Seder-Masochism?

Seder-Masochism is currently doing its film festival rounds. There are a number of festivals lined up this Fall and Winter, most of which I can’t name until they make their official announcements. I really, REALLY want to free the thing online, like, yesterday, but many festivals will disqualify any film that has an “online platform.” Film festivals are the only theatrical screenings it’s ever likely to have, so I’m not going to publicize an online release – even a Free, peer-to-peer one – until its “regional premieres” (which some festivals insist on) are done. If it’s any consolation, this waiting drives me crazy. But I’m going to wait, so that it may see the light of theater screens.

Love,

–Nina

P.S. If you haven’t seen my first feature, Sita Sings the Blues, now would be a good time to watch it! It’s Free all over the place.

 

Seder-Masochism website and trailer

Behold sedermasochism.com!

And here’s the trailer:

Seder-Masochism Trailer April 2018 from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

Seder-Masochism Progress Report

My two goals for 2017 were to bicycle 5,000 miles, and to finish Seder-Masochism. I have 30 miles to go on the first goal, slowed down by mysterious health problems (for which I’m about to undergo a series of invasive tests). But the second goal keeps getting farther away.

I have all the pieces made, and they’re pretty good. The musical numbers are entertaining, and the “Our Father” scenes, based on recordings of my own father shortly before his death in 2012, worked remarkably well.

Scene of Our Father

Our Father

But the overall story isn’t holding together. In fact, it’s hard to tell what the overall story is. I set out to retell “The Passover Story,” but what is that? It’s Exodus. But it’s also more than Exodus, and far less. I tried structuring the film around the Passover Seder, and the result is incoherent. Perhaps because as a story, the Passover Seder is itself incoherent, its popularity and persistence due to early indoctrination and strict rules rather than narrative quality.

So now I’m looking for the story again, at this rather late stage. The narrative quality of the Book of Exodus itself is dubious, but it does contain at least one strong story: the going out, the leaving, the separation, the exit, the Exodus itself. I thought a lot about the meaning of Exodus a few years ago when I animated Death of the Firstborn Egyptians (the solo clip of which has become rather popular, at over a million views on YouTube alone).

Even as the mythological Hebrews exited mythological Egypt, the mythological Firstborn Egyptians exited Life, led by the profound power of Death – who is the Abrahamic God Himself, according to many Haggadot. According to the ancient Egyptian conception of Death and the afterlife, this was not necessarily a tragedy; in fact it would have meant something entirely different to the mythological Egyptians than it does to us. Still an Exodus, but from another point of view.

And that’s where I’m returning to seek my story. To Abrahamics, the Exodus is the story of going forth from the “narrow place,” from cruel slavery to freedom. But what were they exiting, really? According to them it was slavery, oppression, and, worst of all, the worship of false idols. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” commands Yahweh in Exodus 20. How does this story look from the point of view of “other gods”? Specifically, goddesses?

Patriarchy celebrates Exodus as a triumph of civilization. But these days I question the value of civilization, since it’s (we’re) killing the planet and perhaps our souls and minds as well. The popular myth, amongst anxious environmentalists like myself, is that Once Upon a Time humans lived in harmony with nature, gathering and hunting, attuned to the natural world through animism and reverence for the Great Mother. There followed a Great Fall: Agriculture, and its attendant sins of property, hierarchy, and slavery. With the plow we were expelled from the Garden, and things have gotten worse ever since. Genesis in a nutshell.

Exodus is a different angle. This time the Great Mother isn’t a nurturing Garden, but a suffocating oppressor. Man isn’t expelled; he escapes. All those (formerly) animistic spirits are now ridiculous and evil idols. The sacred snake becomes the demonic serpent. Nature and fertility become disgusting things to be controlled. Yeast – spores of Life in the very air – is loathed and mastered through the fetishized Unleavened Bread. This loathing and mastering continues today, as we continually kill Life in the soil with fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. (My 4,970 miles of cycling mostly took place in Central Illinois, the heart of the agri-desert, where yesterday I rode past tanks of ammonia being dragged through denuded fields.)

What does Exodus look like from the point of view of the Goddess? She was in Egypt as Hathor, Hekket, Wadjet, Nut, Maat, Isis, and others portrayed already in Moses Goes Down. She was elsewhere in Mesopotamia as Ishtar, Astarte, the “Queen of Heaven” and other mis-named or un-named “idols.” She was in Europe. She was everywhere – all humans conceived the divine as female, long before the invention of the male God.

The Golden Calf (Return of the Goddess) from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

Watching Man walk out on Her, going forth from revering Nature to enslaving and killing it – would she even want Him back?

So I’m currently trying to articulate the Exodus from the Goddesses’ point of view. I hope it works. I’ve put a lot of effort into Seder-Masochism so far, I’d hate for it to be a BIG FAILURE WITH NO COHERENT STORY. Then again, I may end up with a coherent story that is despised. If my current storytelling angle succeeds, even more people will hate it, especially men. But that I could live with. Releasing a weak, incoherent film would be harder.

But this late in the game, that may be its fate – it’s up to the Goddess.

New York City! Seder-Masochism Work-In-Progress Benefit April 21 at IFC

SM_Poster_IMC_med

Thursday, Apr 21, 2016 7:30 PM EDT
IFC Center, New York, NY

You must purchase advance tickets for this event.

All singing! All dancing! All 40+ minutes of my feature-film-in-progress, Seder-Masochism! This is not the finished movie, but the core musical scenes animated in Flash. While I take a production break to learn new software to make the rest of the film, let’s watch all these crazy scenes together in a theater. Featuring:
Goats!
Egypt!
Plagues!
Death!
Idols!
Commandments!
Unsubtle phallic imagery!
…and MORE!

FREE MATZOH!

Big thanks to my friends at GKIDS for making this happen.

Seder-Masochism is Nina Paley’s second feature film, currently in production. Like its predecessor  Sita Sings the Blues, it’s an animated musical – but this time it’s based on the Passover story, the Book of Exodus. In spite of being an irreverent atheist, Nina is also a card-carrying Jew, entitling her to make scenes such as the now-famous This Land Is Mine:

Here are a few stills and animated gifs from the project:

MosesPartsSea324fps

Thirsty Hebrews charged on by increasingly frustrated Moses

Woman06_first02_AstarteWoman04.2_transformation

Exodus12-35

snake dancer jewish4 gif

Moses Aaron2

Exodus14-30

 

05Melt_2

 

ApepBWenlarging

Wadjet36 HathorWalk36

Bastet36

Seder-Masochism

Seder-Masochism is Nina Paley’s second feature film, currently in production. Like its predecessor  Sita Sings the Blues, it’s an animated musical – but this time it’s based on the Passover story, the Book of Exodus. In spite of being an irreverent atheist, Nina is also a card-carrying Jew, entitling her to make scenes such as the now-famous This Land Is Mine:

Here are a few stills and animated gifs from the project:

MosesPartsSea324fps

Thirsty Hebrews charged on by increasingly frustrated Moses

Woman06_first02_AstarteWoman04.2_transformation

Exodus12-35

snake dancer jewish4 gif

Moses Aaron2

Exodus14-30

 

05Melt_2

 

ApepBWenlarging

Wadjet36 HathorWalk36

Bastet36

March 1: Seder-Masochism Work-In-Progress Screening

SM_Poster1

 

Tuesday March 1, 7:30 pm
The Art Theater
126 W. Church St., Champaign IL

All singing! All dancing! All 40+ minutes of my feature-film-in-progress, Seder-Masochism! This is not the finished movie, but the core musical scenes animated in Flash. While I take a production break to learn new software to make the rest of the film, let’s watch all these crazy scenes together in a theater. Featuring:
Goats!
Egypt!
Plagues!
Death!
Idols!
Commandments!
Unsubtle phallic imagery!
…and MORE!

$5 suggested donation, no one turned away for lack of funds. FREE MATZOH!

Dayenu Illustrated

As I contemplate making a Seder-Masochism Haggadah, I chose some stills to illustrate the Passover song “Dayenu”. Song does not reflect my own opinions, etc.

Out of Egypt

If He had brought us out from Egypt,

and not carried out judgements against them,

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Pharaoh Moses Aharon Snake

If He had carried out judgements against them,

and not against their idols

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Moses Ishtar1

If He had destroyed their idols,

and not killed their first-born

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Death of Firstborn

If He had killed their first-born,

and had not given us their wealth

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Wealth

If He had given us their wealth,

and had not split the sea for us

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Split the Sea

If He had split the sea for us,

and had not taken us through it on dry land

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Dry Land 2

If He had taken us through the sea on dry land,

and had not drowned our oppressors in it

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Drown Oppressors1

If He had drowned our oppressors in it,

and had not supplied our needs in the desert for forty years

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Needs in Desert

If He had supplied our needs in the desert for forty years,

and had not fed us the manna

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Manna1

If He had fed us the manna,

and had not given us the Shabbat,

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Shabbat1

If He had given us the Shabbat,

and had not led us before Mount Sinai

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Mount Sinai1

If He had brought us before Mount Sinai,

and had not given us the Torah

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Torah2

If He had given us the Torah,

and had not brought us into the land of Israel

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Drown Oppressors2

If He had brought us into the land of Israel,

and not built for us the Holy Temple

– Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Shabbat2

October 14 event with Zsuzsanna Budapest

I’ll be returning to my old stomping grounds of Santa Cruz, CA in October (actually part of a longer North American film festival tour with Seder-Masochism, which I’ll announce soon).

Animated poster! Please share.

Animated poster! Please share.

The Goddess Animated: Nina Paley and Zsuzsanna Budapest

Double feature of Nina Paley animation! Each screening followed by dialog with Zsuzsanna Budapest and question-and-answer with audience.

1pm: Sita Sings the Blues
2009 Dir. Nina Paley
Paley’s award-winning 2009 animated musical interpretation of the Hindu epic Ramayana has earned widespread critical praise, a 100% rating on RottenTomatoes, and continued places on best-of lists. Roger Ebert wrote of it, “I am enchanted. I am swept away. I am smiling from one end of the film to the other.”

4pm: Seder-Masochism
2018 Dir. Nina Paley
Loosely following a traditional Passover Seder, events from the Book of Exodus are retold by Moses, Aharon, the Angel of Death, Jesus, and the director’s own father. But there’s another side to this story: that of the Goddess, humankind’s original deity. Seder-Masochism resurrects the Great Mother in a tragic struggle against the forces of Patriarchy.

Suggested donation: $20 to support the Women’s Spirituality Forum.
Tickets at the door.

AMAZONS ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND!

Sunday October 14, 2018

Click image for high resolution poster to print out

Click image for high resolution poster to print out

Brookdale Terrace Club House
300 Plum St., Capitola, CA
Please carpool; parking is limited.

New “Prehistoric Goddess/Female Figures” Quilts

IMG_9758

IMG_9744

IMG_9940

These and more at the Seder-Masochism Merchandise Empire.

Jordan Peterson Interview

Jordan Peterson interviewed me last year (Seder-Masochism was not yet finished when we spoke) and finally the video is up. We talk about the Old Testament, religion, art, inspiration, and copyright, among other subjects.

Nooze I can Yooze

The list begins (and continues) at sedermasochism.com.

NEWS & REVIEWS

The Hollywood Reporter, June 14, 2018

El Mundo, June 14, 2018 (Spanish)

Variety, June 11 2018 (Interview)

Animation World Magazine, June 2018 (PDF)

Animation Magazine, June 13, 2018 (Interview)

Film-Rezensionen.de, June 8 2018 (German)

Angel O’ Death Quilts

IMG_9517Finally available for sale at the Seder-Masochism Merchandise Empire.

Who is Producer X?

Astute observers of Seder-Masochism will notice one “Producer X” on the poster:

Poster_ProducerX

This is consistent with the film’s opening credits:

Moses_ProducerX_edit

and end credits:

Endcredit_ProducerX_edit

Why? Who? WTF?

I made Sita Sings the Blues almost entirely alone. That caused an unforeseen problem when it came time to send the film out into the world: I was usually the only person who could represent it at festivals. Other films have producers who aren’t also the director. Other films also have crews, staff, multiple executives, and money. As SSTB’s only executive, I couldn’t be everywhere at once. Often I couldn’t be anywhere at once, due to having a life that includes occasional crises. Sometimes, if I was lucky, I could send an actor like Reena Shah, or musician like Todd Michaelesen, or narrator like Aseem Chaabra, or sound designer Greg Sextro. But most of the time it meant there was no human being representing the film when it screened at film festivals.

I’m even more hermitic now, and made Seder-Masochism in splendid isolation in Central Illinois. This time I worked with no actors, narrators, or musicians. I did try recording some friends discussing Passover, but that experiment didn’t make it into the film. Greg Sextro is again doing the sound design, but we’re working remotely (he’s in New York).

I like working alone. But I don’t like going to film festivals alone. And sometimes, I can’t go at all.

Such as right now: in June, Seder-Masochism is having its world premiere at Annecy, but I have to stay in Illinois and get surgery. I have an orange-sized fibroid in my cervix, and finally get to have my uterus removed. (I’ve suffered a lifetime of debilitating periods, but was consistently instructed to just suck it up, buttercup; no doctor bothered looking for fibroids over the last 30 years in spite of my pain. But now that I’m almost menopausal, out it goes at last!)

Film festivals are “people” events, and having a human there helps bring attention to the film. The reason I want my film in festivals is to increase attention. The more attention, the better for the film, especially as a Free Culture project. So I want a producer with it at festivals.

Fortunately, Producer X has been with Seder-Masochism from the very beginning. After Sita’s festival years, I knew that credit would be built into my next film.

So who is Producer X?

Whoever I say it is.

She’ll see you in Annecy!