PRESS RELEASE: Seder-Masochism to go Public Domain January 31, 2019

—PRESS RELEASE—

On Thursday, January 31, Nina Paley will dedicate her new feature film Seder-Masochism to the public domain, releasing master files on archive.org.

Seder-Masochism, an animated musical, loosely follows the Passover Seder story, with events from the Book of Exodus retold by Moses, Aharon, the Angel of Death, Jesus and the director’s father. The film puts a twist on the traditional Biblical story by including a female deity perspective – the Goddess in a tragic struggle against the forces of patriarchy.

Seder-Masochism has been in the works since 2012 when Paley first animated a scene called This Land Is Mine, a parody about never-ending conflict in the Levant which has been viewed over 10 million times on various online channels.

In addition, Paley has written and designed a companion book, The Seder-Masochism: A Haggadah and Anti-Haggadah, currently available through Amazon.

Paley released her first feature, Sita Sings the Blues, for free to the public in March 2009 under a Creative Commons Share-Alike license, dedicating it to the public domain 5 years later. Contradicting movie industry expectations, the more people saw Sita online, the more they sought it out in theaters and film festivals. In December 2009, Sita enjoyed a 5-week run at the IFC Film Center in New York (extended by popular demand beyond its planned 1-week run), and it continues screening in theaters, festivals, and special events to this day.

Accustomed to working outside the mainstream movie industry, Paley has made Seder-Masochism a one-woman project: she wrote, directed, and animated it herself on a total budget of $20,000. Being independent allows her to release and distribute her films in unorthodox ways – such as into the public domain.

A Public Domain dedication (using a Creative Commons license called CC-0) means anyone can re-use, remix, and redistribute the work, with no restrictions. All of Paley’s animation and images will be free for anyone to use however they wish; however the music will continue to be controlled by its copyright holders.

Paley has no plans to pursue commercial distribution for Seder-Masochism. “I claim Fair Use for the music, but distributors are loath to do that. Instead they’d want to obtain music licenses, which would be daunting,” she says.

Seder-Masochism has screened at nearly 20 festivals thus far, including the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Annecy International Animation Festival, and the Jewish International Film Festival of Australia. It is scheduled for more festivals through Spring 2019, including the New York Jewish Film Festival in January.

The Digital Cinema Package (DCP) release will be issued later in 2019, so that upcoming film festivals can be assured of regional theatrical premieres.

The release of her films into the public domain is just the latest effort Paley has undertaken to advocate for Free Culture. In 2008, while navigating copyright for Sita Sings the Blues, she joined the nonprofit QuestionCopyright.org as artist-in-residence, where she later created a series of shorts about Free Culture called Minute Memes. She has spoken extensively about copy restrictions and art, including her 2015 TEDx talk “Copyright is Brain Damage”.

For more information, visit sedermasochism.com or email nina@sedermasochism.com.

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Seder-Masochism at the NY Jewish Film Festival!

Seder-Masochism at the NY Jewish Film Festival Sunday January 13 at 9pm & Monday January 14 at 3:45pm. I will be at both screenings! Buy tickets here.

Death of Firstborn

The Seder-Masochism Book

Graven-on-demand copies available here! Transparency: I get about $6 per $35 order. Hopefully by next year some publisher will have them offset-printed in hardcover with sewn bindings, but until then, graven-on-demand is it.

It’s a Haggadah! It’s an Anti-Haggadah! It’s coming soon! It’s almost 200 pages, in full color! Here are some pictures of the proof I just got.

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Fall 2018 North American Festival Tour wrap-up

In the last month I traveled to Ottawa, Vancouver, Mill Valley, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles, to attend numerous screenings of Seder-Masochism, including the festivals below:

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This is a LONG post with lots of photos, so start after the fold. Continue reading Fall 2018 North American Festival Tour wrap-up

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

 

DCPs

10+ years ago, when I was preparing Sita Sings the Blues for film festivals, I had to make heavy, unwieldy, and expensive 35mm film prints. Thankfully I don’t have to do that any more. Instead, today’s cinemas use DCP (for Digital Cinema Package) hard drives. These take advantage of advances in digital technology, as fucked up by a film industry that can’t cope with advances in digital technology. Thanks to the insane and byzantine encoding protocols designed by Hollywood to thwart what computers are inherently best at – copying – making DCPs has long been shrouded in mystery and prohibitive costs.

Since I’m cheap and have practically no income these days, I didn’t want to use a DCP-making service (called a “lab,” as if). Instead, after begging around for favors, and doing much research online, I made them myself.
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I used DCP-o-matic. It’s Free Software, created and maintained by Carl Hetherington, to whom I and many other small filmmakers owe a debt of gratitude. I can’t recommend it enough. Apparently many screening venues now use it themselves. I used it to make 2K and 4K DCP files, and English and French “version files” for subtitles. I also burned in English subtitles over “Paroles, Paroles.”

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Once I made the DCPs, I had to get them onto portable hard drives, which is no small task. You can’t just drag-and-drop copy them like normal files. Fortunately I found DCP Transfer. It’s not Free, but it is affordable – $25 a month (ugh, subscriptions) plus a $25 initial charge. Today my subscription auto-renewed, just in time for me to be gone for a month, so I contacted the company to cancel and they refunded it. That’s good service! The software works great, too. I had no problem formatting and copying DCPs onto most external hard drives. The exception was flash drives, aka thumb drives; these overheated and usually failed. It’s a pity, since flash drives are so small and convenient. But I found some relatively inexpensive 320GB USB3 portable hard drives, and made enough DCPs to satisfy film festivals.

Whatever my complaints about DCP, it sure beats making (and distributing!) film.

Ten Plagues Illustrated

I illustrated the Plagues with videoclips in 2015, but never assembled still images before. Again, thinking about a book…

 

 

Blood

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Frogs

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Lice

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Flies

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Murrain (cattle disease)

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Boils

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Hail (and fire)

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Locusts

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Darkness

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Death of the Firstborn Egyptians

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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!

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Seder-Masochism Wikipedia article

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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.

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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

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These and more at the Seder-Masochism Merchandise Empire.

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.

 

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.