“Where Can I get the DVD?”

Hi everyone! I’m crazy busy preparing the new “Sita” web site which will have links to the film which you can download and share for free under a Creative Commons Share Alike license starting March 7 (hopefully). Yes I plan to sell a limited edition of signed DVD packages including a free pre-downloaded DVD, but the content itself will be available for free online. My DVD packaging will take many weeks to produce, and won’t be available until after the March 7 online release. But you’ll be able to download and burn your own DVDs, as “Sita” is going 100% DRM Free. I appreciate your emails asking how to get DVDs, but if I spend another day answering emails instead of making the new site, it’ll never get done. Thanks for your patience! Also, I still need another $43,000 to pay off loans to get Sita out of copyright jail, so please donate if it feels right.


22 thoughts on ““Where Can I get the DVD?””

  1. BTW, being able to purchase something physical can be a tremendous tool for those of us who are attempting to convince their institutions (in my case, a private college where I am a department library representative) to make a ‘purchase,’ where they would refuse to make a ‘donation.’

    I CAN’T WAIT. I have been teaching the Ramayana with CLIPS from your movie for two years now…. Have already scheduled a public showing for April 7th at the same college.

  2. Nina, you’re frickin’ brilliant. I can’t wait to see the whole film, and to get a job so I can donate money to you. If you ever do a Ganesha film and need a consultant on iconography, please let me know.

    How does one go about setting up a screening? Do I just send you a suggestion of a space that might be interested? Do I have them contact you?

    Anyhow, the stuff on YouTube is great, really exciting, the art and collage elements are beautiful and smart. Great work.

  3. Nina, I hope the ‘official’ DVD you plan to sell limited copies of, will also be the one you release as downloadable files (among other versions/qualities, of course). If so, I plan to burn copies and spread it wherever I can. I have a stack of blank DVDs sitting here waiting for me to do something with them, so why not?

    BTW, I was curious what format the “original resolution” files are in – what you call the original “image sequences” – I’m thinking about whether I could personally use them to create a very-high-resolution computer-only copy, what I would call comparable to a Blu-Ray rip. I’m just not sure if I know how to do it, especially since I have no idea what format the “original” files are.

  4. Original resolution is 1920×1080. I intend to place a 200GB quicktime “animation” compressed (virtually uncompressed) 1920×1080 movie on a server somewhere, so anyone with sufficient patience can download it. I’ll also sell hard drives with the giant files. More details soon.

  5. I once (happily) paid Ennio Morriconi several thousand dollars to use music from the sound track to “The Mission” because I thought the music was crucial to the feeling I was trying to convey in the film, and perhaps because of that I’m having terrible trouble with the pejorative language you’re using to describe the situation you’ve got yourself into.

    Yes, I might use worth “ransom” when I talk about paying to get my negative out of the lab, but I don’t actually believe the lab is holding my negative hostage, and in fact I’m quite happy to pay them for what they do to help me make my films, just like I was when I paid the Morricone estate licensing fees for the music.

    But reading your blog I don’t get the feeling you feel the same way about the fees for the use of the music in your films. You sound down right resentful that someone would have the gall to ask to be paid for the use of something they own.

    Your film is not in “copyright jail”. It doesn’t need to be “decriminalized”. You could have avoided this whole hassle by addressing the right issue before you undertook production. You could have used original music, which would put music into the hands of working artists instead of evil corporate copyright holders. You could have used much less expensive stock music (The famous Monday Night Football music was nothing more than another stock music track before it was paired with the right visual material and context.) You could have used no music at all.

  6. Tony Comstock,

    You write as though one song is the same as another — as though the magical linkage Nina found between the songs sung by Annette Hanshaw and the Ramayan and her own life has no artistic significance. The very thing that inspired Nina is what you see as fungible. But, of course, it’s not.

    “Ownership” is the wrong metaphor here. This is a monopoly right, and resentment is appropriate when someone enforces a destructive monopoly right. It’s not as if Nina asked to use their copies of the music: she had to ask for permission to use *her* copies. That’s the difference between physical property and imaginary property, between ownership and monopoly. Music, in the end, cannot be owned.

    Also: a dead-broke independent filmmaker going into debt to fulfill her vision does not constitute a full-employement program for working musicians. You seem to imply she did something faintly wrong by being inspired by old recordings and using them as part of a new work. (Or if that’s not what you were getting at by “You could have used original music, which would put music into the hands of working artists instead of evil corporate copyright holders”, then I’m not sure what you were trying to say.) There are no time-traveling, identity-swapping musicians available today who can be Annette Hanshaw singing songs in the 1920s.

  7. @Tony – Works should not be kept out of public domain in perpetuity. It’s one thing to give a creator their due, it’s another thing for giant corporations to lock up works that must become a part of culture eventually so that all people can benefit.

    People have literally been born, lived full lifetimes, and have died in the time since Annette Hanshaw’s works became “protected”. Multiple generations! She could potentially have great-great-grandchildren by now. Do these “rights” need to be held in force for an entire century? Do you genuinely believe that corporations should own all culture for all time? Because that’s what they’re after!

    Don’t forget to pay someone next time you sing Happy Birthday!

  8. I meant to write “which would put money into the hand of working artist instead of evil corporate copyright holders,” which hopefully clarifies the point.

    Using music you can’t afford, then paying for it anyway only serves to strengthen the hand of copyright holders. If Nina had used music from any number of other sources, then her film wouldn’t be stuck.

    If this *particular* music is utterly crucial to the film, then that only serves to point out the value of the music, not the genius of Nina’s inspiration. Now we’re simply having an argument of self interest. Nina’s self interest is for fewer protections for copyright holders, and the copyright holder is arguing their own interest.

    There’s nothing wrong with arguing for oneself interest. I own several copyrights of modest value and hope that 100 years from now they will still be sufficiently valuable for my heir to assert their rights.

    If Nina or anyone else wants to argue that at some point in the future, I or my heir should be stripped of those rights, you’re perfectly welcome to make the argument. You might even prevail.

    But in the meantime, let’s please not use language that make me or whomever owns the Annette Hanshaw music sound like evil robber barons. We are simply property owners asserting our rights under the law. My own films have no music, a choice made because I have to make a living making films, and there’s no way I can do that while giving music rights holders tens of thousands of dollars.

    Is my choice inspired or fungible? Well maybe it’s both. Like Nina, I’m an independent filmmaker, but I’m not dead broke.

  9. Back to the issue of DVDs… I’d love to download this movie once you make it available. Unfortunately, I don’t think my connection is consistent enough to support that. And I don’t have a DVD burner, so then I’d have to watch it by myself on the computer in the basement. OF course, based on your other pricing, it looks like I won’t be able to afford an original DVD, either. Are you considering release of a lower end DVD that would fall in the area of $25? I’d be less happy buying a copy from a third party, since I really want to support your work.

  10. Hey Fishmonger,

    Good points. The problem is that I have to pay the corporations more licensing $$ if I sell more than 5,000 DVDs. I’m thinking about what to do….maybe someone else will pay the additional license fees to do an additional run of 5,000 and share income with me so I could endorse them. The music corporations’ licenses don’t make this easy for anyone – $1.65 per disc takes a huge chunk out of a DVD distributor’s profit, and acts as a real disincentive to distribute “Sita” DVDs affordably.

  11. Self-distributing you should be able to gross aware from $12.50 to $25 on the sale of a $25 DVD.

    Replication, warehousing and fullfilment shouldn’t cost you more than about $2.50/DVD. Add another $1.65 to pay for the music and you’re still not up to $4/copy.

    That leaves between $8 and $21 per DVD in profit. Between high volume wholesale customers like Amazon and B&N, low volume wholesale customers and direct retail you’re going to clear about $15/DVD. On a run of 5,000 that looks like about $75K in profit.

    I’m not seeing the disincentive.

  12. It’s more a disincentive for non-me publishers, who use a different (less efficient) distribution model. I’d like to limit my own involvement in the business of selling these things, so I can focus on making new art. But maybe if I get out of my debt and get enough $$ to hire a manager, I can pay someone to manage affordable mass-market DVDs and still come out ahead.

    Do note that others may be releasing their own “Sita” DVDs – PBS will, I think. They have a different licensing scheme with the corporations and can probably do so more affordably.

  13. A traditional distributor should still be able to capture about 80% of the MSRP. On a $25 DVD that’s about $10/DVD, or about $50K gross on a run of 5,000.

    That looks like more than enough to pay for rights, pay you for your work, and still have a nice profit left over for themselves.

  14. Then problem solved! Someone will do it. If they share $ with me (and meet certain quality standards), they’ll get the Creator Endorsed seal, so fans can know some of the proceeds are benefitting me.

  15. Here is what I know… As a high school teacher of mythology and comparative religion, I know I *want* this DVD and I want the creator of the movie *and* the people who own the rights to the music to be fairly compensated. At the same time, I don’t think it should be cost prohibitive for *any* of us who are clamoring for the DVD. Luckily, I can watch it on my computer for now, but I will WILLINGLY buy a DVD to use in my classroom! I hope all of this gets resolved, and I am fortunate that I won’t need the DVD until September. I am donating money today, and I hope the DVD is released soon! I suspect you will go through your 5,000 copies rather quickly!

  16. @Tony a century is far, far too long to lock up an idea behind bars. People should not have to live their entire lifetimes without ever having access to their culture. What’s wrong with 50 years? Not enough time for your heirs to add anything useful to the culture themselves? Should all heirs sit on the laurels of their forebears forever? Huzzah for dynasty!!

  17. I love this film, it is so creative, and the fact that Sita is singing the blues is amazing. I am a teacher and would love to purchase a copy to show them the film. I think they will learn alot as well as get a kick with the commentary from the puppets are hilarious. If I am unable to purchase a DVD soon, I will use your website in order t share this great film with my eager students after our India unit.

    Thank you.

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