Featured presenter: Nina Paley

Nina spoke to us in December on her views on copyright and distribution.  I think she wrote this post after our event, spurred on by a question someone asked at the salon, which she undoubtedly gets all the time: What’s Stopping You?

Nina’s perspective on freeing up her copyright by using a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license for her feature-length animated film, “Sita Sings the Blues”, is compelling.  First and foremost, it frees up her art for more people to learn about it and see it.  She tells a story in her recent I Heart Middlemen post about how one of her international distributors refused to grant permission to show her film at a professional conference held by their country’s national television company.  Obviously the exposure at this event, attended by some important players in the industry, would have been excellent exposure for her work, resulting in more sales.  Holding it back made no sense. She is sorry that she granted them her “exclusive endorsement”.

Lest her political views about artist’s rights overshadow her work, let me turn back to that.  The film is amazing.  Given the short time she had at the salon, she only showed a brief trailer.  But I highly recommend you watch the film or order it.  Nina animated the entire thing herself, in a diversity of styles.  The music, the dual stories of her personal breakup and the epic breakup of the Indian goddess, the commentary by Indians who learned the religious story as children, even the controversial take that some people have in response to her rettelling of a story always told from the man’s perspective – somehow it all fits together to make one of the most interesting and entertaining experiences I’ve had in a long while.