Greetings from Novi Sad

I’m currently at a VERY well-organized film festival in Serbia. They picked me up at the airport, assigned me my own handler, put me in a top hotel, gave me a detailed personal schedule, fed me, got me a local SIM card for my cell phone, drove me everywhere on time…and this is their first year! It’s organized by the same people who’ve done a music festival in Novi Sad for 8 years in a row, and their experience handling complex logistics and tempermental egomaniacal artists shows. Sita had two well-attended outdoor screenings. Now I get to relax and sight-see until I return to Geneva Sunday. 

Thanks everyone who sent kind words about the Annecy win. I still can hardly believe it. What a strange world! I love you all.

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The Annecy and the Ecstasy

Holy shit

Adios Encore

I’m off to France, Serbia and London, back mid-July. I’ll blog if I can, but posts may be sparse depending on internet access and free time. See you in Europe!

Sita FAQ #126: How can I get the DVD?

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I’m getting a lot of requests for Sita Sings the Blues DVDs, but unfortunately they’re not yet available for sale. The film’s sales rep has asked until the end of July to try to make a deal with a US distributor. I can’t release a DVD before then, because distributors all want DVD rights. Also, most festivals won’t accept films that are already available on DVD. So for now, we must wait. By the end of the Summer, Sita will either have a distributor, with an estimated release date for the DVD; or Sita won’t have a distributor, in which case I’ll publish and sell DVDs myself. Thank you for your patience!

Props to my Seattle peeps

Thank you Seattle International Film Festival Audiences for the nice things you’re saying about Sita. I’m really touched, and wish I could have been there.

Update: this just in (scroll to last entry). Oh my goodness!

Press for Success

Another round of articles about Sita Sings the Blues:

“imaginative, giddily witty, visually delicious”
Seattle Weekly (Editor’s Pick)

Animating a Personal Flash Epic: The Making of Nina Paley’s Sita Sings the Blues
a long, detailed, and honest (maybe too honest) interview with Bryant Frazer for Film&Video

Gods, Princes and Demons
New Statesman article by Salil Tripathi about the British Library’s Ramayana exhibit, including a paragraph on Sita

Nina Paley’s Path to “Sita Sings the Blues”
a long article by Ed Liu for ToonZone

Upcoming Festivals, June-July 2008

Seattle International Film Festival May 25 and 26 (I can’t attend, alas)

Annecy Animation Festival June 9-14 – I’ll be there

Cinema City in Novi Sad, Serbia, June 14-21 – I’ll be there too

Avignon/New York Film Festival June 25-29 – and there too I will be

Taipei Film Festival June 20-July 6 – I will probably miss this, unless someone buys me a ticket from France to Taiwan for June 30. Anyone?

British National Library July 8 – yes I will be there! Why do you think I’m subletting my apartment?

And then I will come back to NY for at least a week.

Sita Sings the Blues’ Tribeca Publicity Roundup

TV and Radio:

BBC World

Morning Edition, WNYC

My First Time, WNBC

AVS TV

Magazines:

Premiere’s Top 10 Films of Tribeca 2008

“wittily written, brilliantly acted”
Variety

“beautifully audacious”
Premiere

“One-Woman Pixar”
Wired

“a unique depiction of the epic”
Zee News

“…both heartfelt and consistently witty, the type of low-fi animated musical that puts Disney to shame.”
FilmMaker Magazine/IFP

“a strange and beautiful little film”
Spout

“funny and eye-popping and never bogs down.”
Nerve

“One of the best films playing at the…Tribeca Film Festival this year”
New York Magazine

Other Blogs:

“mind-blowing…The overall look of the film was fantastic; the graphics stunning and the flow between parallel threads excellent.”
apercevoir

“…a triumph of individual creation.”
JTAbron

“It’s touching, encouraging, fun, and educational. I LOVE IT!”
tiny blog

“The narration was hilarious, the quality of animation never faltered no matter what the style and the songs were the most incredible fit – astonishing that a jazz song from the 1920’s would match exactly with a story from ~500 BC. “
Yewknee/Michael Eades

“beautiful, funny, and kind of brilliant.”
Two-Timing My Scrapbook

“Hopefully this movie finds its way to Thailand in order to give people a glimpse of how traditional material can still be meaningful today.”
–comment on Thai Film Journal

Whining Advisory Next 600 Words

I got back from Stuttgart, still coughing (albeit less), and slept for about 2 days. Now I’m slogging through my backed-up emails and figuring out what to do next. I looks like I’ll be touring the Eastern Hemisphere most of June and July, and sub-letting my Hell’s Kitchen apartment. Interested parties please get in touch – the apartment comes with my cat Bruno, who needs daily food and love.

You’d think I’d be all overjoyed about this, but actually I’m stressed and confused. Will Sita get a distribution deal? Will it win an award? Awards drive me crazy – I always want one, “for the sake of the film,” I tell myself, but surely it’s for my ego. Press too is like coke, I always want more; google blogsearch is becoming a compulsion. I compare Sita‘s progress with other films, which can’t be good. I’d like to detach from all this, but what about the festivals? This is my big chance to attend film festivals, it’s not like I can postpone them all until next year. But film festivals are orgies of comparison: who’s getting the most press? the best reviews? whose shows are selling out first? who’s getting the award? These are enemies of the Muse, and I’m not sufficiently mature to maintain my equilibrium in their midst.

Also, I am out of money and racking up expenses like you wouldn’t believe. Take “film festival rights”: publishers charge at least $500 a song just to play the film at festivals – and I don’t get money at festivals, I spend money to make the prints and stuff. I’m spending money I don’t have to get the film out there, and although something always works out, I have no idea how I’m going to pay for French subtitles (the “honor” of attending the Annecy Animation Festival is costing me over $5,000), or legal fees, or rent. Someday the film could bring money in, but I’m not sure how I’m going to make it to that day, if it ever comes.

What a whiney post this has turned out to be. On the brighter side, I’ll post next about all the sweeet reviews Sita got at Tribeca, with tasty little quotes selected by Publicity Bitch herself. But I am not Publicity Bitch. I am a servant of the Muse who is losing her way.

Phlegm Festival

Tribeculosis kept me home from Raw-Chester, but I’m still going to Germany tomorrow. Still coughing, but I’m on antibiotics now so presumably it won’t get any worse.

My First Time

Here it is: the reality show My First Time, produced and directed by Jesse Mann. It follows three first-time feature directors – including me – at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Adios, Amigos! NOT

I’m off to Rochester (April 30), then Stuttgart for the Trickfilmfestival and Flashconference/FMX. Back May 9. I’ll only have sporadic email access until then, but will try to stay in touch. Bye New York – I love you!

I’m not leaving after all – I’m too sick with the Tribeca Plague ™ Tribeculosis which I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to conquer with sheer willpower. Now I can’t stop coughing and can barely speak so I guess I’ll try to go to a doctor tomorrow instead of Rochester. My cat will be happy though!

Glam-imator

Pay attention, ASIFA-East. Jeans and T-shirts are for pussies.
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More Sita premiere photos from Getty Images.

showing shows

I made a little blog to more easily update Sita screening information.

Sita’s Tribeca Premiere

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L-R, Back: Georgia Hilton (mix), Todd Michaelsen (music), Reena Shah (voice, dance), me, Sanjiv Jhaveri (voice), Greg Sextro (sound design), Aseem Chhabra (voice). Front: Rohan (music), Aladdin Ullah (voice), Debargo Sanyal (voice), Bhavana Nagulapally (voice). I love you all!

Photo by Preston Merchant – click to see more.