Why Film?

Ms. Laaw-yuhr asks a good question: why go through the trouble and expense of putting Sita Sings the Blues on 35mm film?

1. The most prestigious and important film festivals still show only film, not video. The next deadline for the first of these is Berlin, November 1st. If Sita is accepted, she’ll have to be on film by the end of January.

There’s been a huge proliferation of film festivals in recent years, and many do screen video and DVD. But the “big five” (Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Toronto and Sundance) retain a strong preference – if not outright requirement – for film.

2. Professional distributors prefer film, and I hope to attract a distributor.

3. The digital projectors in mainstream theaters use a proprietary codec, as deigned by the Motion Picture Association. Obtaining the license for that codec is expensive.

4. Art houses, the likeliest theatrical destination for “Sita,” seldom have the fancy new digital systems anyway, relying instead on inferior tape and DVD projectors, or good ol’ gorgeous film.

5. Film looks great. And I have designed the entire production with film in mind as the final destination. Everything is 24 frames per second, at a film-worthy resolution.

6. Film is a universal platform that works around the world. Video standards differ from region to region, and digital projection technologies are ephemeral. Since “Sita” is likely to be seen overseas in a variety of countries, including many places that can’t afford the latest digital systems, film is the best vehicle for her.

7. Add your own reason in the comments.


Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

7 thoughts on “Why Film?”

  1. All good reasons, I think the most important is that you created Sita to be on film in particular. I think the best filmmakers have always done their homework and consider their formating as integral to the piece.

  2. So… now what Nina? Youv’e done your film ……your trying to get music and everthing else on film,…out of your hands really. So I was wondering….. You have worked on this for a couple of years then it costs $30,000 to get it on film. Does it cost you to enter the Festivals? How do you prosper from this?(how do you turn animation into food?)
    I hope this isn’t too nosey.

  3. Hi,

    When the 35mm print is available, I hope you will contact Alamo Drafthouse cinema here in Austin to schedule a showing(s). Alamo (which has mutiple theaters in Austin and is proliferating to other cities) specilaizes in creative promotions of films they show, and Austin is loaded with film buffs. Other prospects are the Paramount Theater and the University of Texas campus.

  4. I remember the Alamo! I really do – I briefly lived in Austin in 1991. It’d be cool to return with the film. But I can’t start booking tours until after its festival premieres, which I’m still waiting to hear back on.

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