Students for Free Culture

This is heartening.

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Information wants to be free, and so do I.

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My main goal with Sita Sings the Blues was always to have people see it, but the movie business makes that very difficult. I’ve been trying to go the movie biz route, really trying, with a sales rep and everything, but I’m about to throw in the towel. Distributors gain exclusive rights, and if they don’t exploit those rights competently, your film remains unseen (and for a little indie feature like mine, they offer to pay shit for those rights). Television actually pays very little for indies – about 1/6 what studio films get. Then there’s the problem that I can’t afford to sell my own film, due to the cost of officially clearing rights to the underlying compositions (the Hanshaw recordings aren’t protected by Federal Copyright law but the songs’ underlying compositions are still controlled by publishers and estates). I already owe $6,000 just for “festival rights” – the right to lose money sending the expensive prints to film festivals. To officially sell DVDs, I’ll need to purchase even more expensive rights – at prices designed for moneyed studios, not broke artists – and buy “E and O Insurance,” and doG knows what else. Yeah, yeah, I knew this going in, but I expected a distributor to pay for some of it. These costs are a pittance by studio standards, nothing at all really, but I’m still an “indie,” and no matter how many awards Sita wins, no distributor is going to spend real money on her.

I just want people to see the movie.

So last night I thought, maybe it’s time to investigate Plan C – giving it away for free. But how? Free online video like youtube is too low-quality, plus it’s not set up for feature-length works. I’m happy to give the film away for free, but I don’t want it to look like crap! There are higher-quality online venues like itunes, but those aren’t free. I’m pretty adamant about it being free, because

a) I can’t afford to sell it (see above)

b) no one should be denied viewing for lack of funds

c) I detest the movie business and their Digital Rights Management, and don’t want my film used to support their bullshit.

Yes, it would cost money to give Sita away – someone would have to donate a lot of server space and management. But it could be a worthy cause. Has anyone ever given away a really excellent, award-winning feature film online before? Maybe we could start a new trend. I’d ask for donations, of course – to me as an artist, not for the film – and there’s always merchandise, if the film gets really popular. I know many readers of this blog and fans of Sita are progressive, creative computer types. Any ideas? Any friends in high places who could help? I made Sita by ignoring the rules of filmmaking, I’d like to distribute her the same way. Information wants to be free, and so do I.

Avian Transportation Theory

Aaron Simpson pointed me to this excellent mock-trailer:

Originally found on RichardDawkins.net, it’s a parody of what looks like a truly dumb “Intelligent Design” PR piece.

You’ll notice there’s a little clip of my short film The Stork at the beginning. No, the producers didn’t ask for permission and no, that doesn’t bother me because yes, I enjoyed the piece so much I’m honored to be included (also the clip is really brief – blink and you might miss it). But hey Sexpelled producers – get in touch anyway, I like your style.
Continue reading Avian Transportation Theory

Wimmyns Side of Sex

This Saturday, fellow indie animatrix Signe Baumane is presenting a program called Women’s Side of Sex, including a clip from Sita. She and I and one other filmmaker will be present to answer questions and further embarrass ourselves.

Saturday March 22, at 8pm
at Millennium Film Workshop, 66 East 4th street
information: 212 673 0090
www.millenniumfilm.org
cinema@millenniumfilm.org
$8 admission

Seven seasoned in animation, sex and relationships women are going to share their sex/love stories with you :

Nina Paley www.ninapaley.com
Debra Solomon www.debrasolomon.com
Brook Keesling www.boobiegirl.com
Ruth Lingford www.lumeneclipse.com/gallery/05/lingford/index.html
Joanna Qiunn http://berylproductions.co.uk
Lisa Yu http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0950529
Signe Baumane www.signebaumane.com

Here’s my friend Will Franken presenting a similar program (NOT SAFE FOR WORK):

Denmark!

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UPDATE: confirmed screening dates:

Copenhagen:
March 30 Empire Bio 15.00
April 6 Cinemateque 19.30
plus:
Aarhus: April 2 Ost for Paradise 18.00
Odense: April 4 Cafe Biografen 16.00

Sita is going to the NATFILM FESTIVAL in Copenhagen! Word is she’ll screen Saturday March 29 (I’ll be there!) and Sunday April 6 Cinematque at the Filmhouse in Copenhagen, but I don’t know what times yet. I also just learned one of my favorite films ever, Loins of Punjab Presents, will be at the festival too. Sita, Loins and Denmark: it’s a dream come true.

Benny Lava

Via Manish Acharya, an Indian music video translated by one Buffalax with “SUBTITLES THAT SAY WHAT I THINK THE VIDEO SOUNDS LIKE IN ENGLISH!!!”

‘Tis the Season

to Resist Christmas! “No Shopping, No Presents, NO GUILT.” Also visit the Christmas Resistance Blog.

Politician reveals humanity

This is an exceptionally moving video. Via StayFree: San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders made an announcement last week regarding same-sex marriage. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to take 5 minutes right now and watch.

The Trap

Astute reader/luncher Andrew directs our attention to this very interesting BBC series, The Trap:

Above is episode two; see also episodes one and three.

Behold How History Is Written!

Very Similar to how sausages are made.

Stand Up For Judas

Nothing inspires me like my fellow heretics. Please enjoy a sample of Stand Up for Judas by Dick Gaughan.

Read the full lyrics here.