“Nothing New”

Sita Sings the Blues was recently rejected for a small government grant. Their review comments included “not engaging,” “nothing new,” “doesn’t speak to artistic growth and development” and “pretty but not groundbreaking.” At first I didn’t fully understand, but then today I learned a film exactly like mine has been done before:

Look at the similarities: the story is told from a white Western female perspective, it uses animation, and it only discusses Rama and Sita, omitting Laxman. Not only that, it was made by four-to-six-year-olds, which explains why the organization also called my project “standard” and “too easy.” I wish I’d known about this before I tried to “reinvent the wheel.” (via waiting for kalki)


Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

11 thoughts on ““Nothing New””

  1. Too bad you didn’t get the dough, but don’t sweat the comments.
    In similar hat-in-hand circumstances, I got these:
    “A disaster”; “Morally reprehensible”; and “incomprehensible”.
    I turned out to be right, in the end, and…
    …so, surely, will you!

  2. Ah, grants. Those who can’t do, or understand what to do – give out grants. Truly they are silly people.

  3. I really didn’t know what to say when I first read your post. So I thought about it for a while. I know one thing,If say… 20 people say they like my work,… but if one person says it’s just OK, or that they don’t really care for it.( Guess what I focus on). 🙂 Does that mean the 20 are stupid or don’t know anything or they lied to you.( of course not )
    What makes people like something or not. I grew up in the era of Modern Art. As a general rule I don’t care for it at all. I don’t get it. I went through the Modern Art Museum in Washinton, it took me about 10 minutes.
    But other people think it’s great Art.
    So don’t lose your passion for what you are doing. You’ve got a direction in your animation, go for it.
    One thing else, people change thier likes and dislikes through thier life. ( I hated the Betty Boop style when I was younger, I just found a few on the web, and I’m watching them over and over again.)

  4. Funders can be incredibly short-sighted – or maybe they are just waiting for films which will NEVER make money, to fund ( a contradiction if ever there was one…)- in the meantime someone’s invented YouTube.

    If it’s any small consolation, I got a reject letter from a funder last year (via an “industry script reader”) that suggested that I’d had a “touch of the sun” (verbatim) writing my script…the idiot…and all because I hadn’t formatted it properly in Final Draft, I suspect…

  5. a true work of real genius usually frightens people. they don’t embrace it. they try to undermine it because it shakes up the status quo. so fuck them. anybody who views sita and fails to recognize that it is outstanding is probably only about a third as intelligent as you are. so — fuck them. and in conclusion, fuck them!

  6. Well I wached this with my four and a half year old and she seems to prefer your version. I’d veture to say that if that was the wheel you aren’t reinventing it at all. stikes me as rather different even with the similarities of subject matter.

    I also humbly suggest that the use of Annette Hanshaw’s music adds another dimension to your project, one that can’t be done enough…exposing modern generations to vintage music.

    Sita Sings the blues is lush, filled with color and a very subtle sense of humor…just because something is beautiful doesn’t mean it lacks substance.

  7. personally from what I watched your video is pretty bomb. I mean I love the story of Sita and listen to a lot of jazz and blues SO it was like you made this picture just for me. I love it! who cares if a million intellectuals and heady ass holes like everything the way it is, and get all serious about “an ancient mythological work” then they wonder why people don’t look in a book and find these things interesting (I mean I do) but I feel the mass amount of people would enjoy it and could use a little lightheartedness along with their learning.

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