Sita Sings The Blues

Attention Angelenos! Nina Paley’s incredibly wonderful full length feature film Sita Sings The Blues will have its Los Angeles Premiere in glorious 35mm at the RedCat Theatre (within the Walt Disney Concert Hall downtown) on Monday night October 13th at 8:30pm. For details and tickets click here.

I saw the film, twice, in Ottawa and I’m absolutely wild about it. And here’s why: It’s a perfectly realized, solid piece of work. Visually beautiful, extremely entertaining, it has so much going for it I really can’t think of anything I’d change about it.

The film tells the story of Nina’s ill-fated long distance relationship (and eventual break-up) to a boyfriend who was transfered to India on business. This part of the film is animated and drawn in Nina’s comic-strip, bigfoot style (above). She intercuts this story with the Indian legend of Ramayana – this told by three off-screen Indian contemporaries who hilariously try to remember all the little details. This part is animated in a paper cut-out collage style, using all manner of Hindu commercial imagery and iconography — not unlike Ward Kimball’s pop-art educationals (Music, Space, Birds, etc.). Within the Ramayana sections, Paley re-imagines certain plot points as elaborate musical-fantasy sequences, animated with Max-Fleischer-meets-UPA designs (see image below) set to a soundtrack of vintage 1929-era Annette Hanshaw recordings. Imagine Betty Boop in a Bollywood musical and you are close the mood Paley achieves.

And it all works. It works as a full length feature – It’s not a short stretched to fill over an hour. The film has a simple but strong personal story narrative, which many can relate to. It’s so clearly an independent film, not the tired product of a factory made, committee driven studio. Did I mention this film was made by one person, over a five year period, on her home computer? That fact alone makes Nina’s achievement here even more incredible – and refreshing.

Above it all, it’s fun. The film seems so effortlessly enjoyable in that same way all classic animation feels. I urge you to see the film when you can (in L.A. that means Oct. 13th at RedCat) and support Nina’s efforts to recoup her production expenses and find distribution. Sita Sings The Blues is an accomplishment to be celebrated by all who love animation.


“That’s all.”


  • captain murphy

    I will gladly buy it if it is ever available in the iTunes store.

    It is also flash animation done right. That is, it is designed and using the strengths of Flash as it is, rather than creating some sort of compromise.

  • http://mymedicatedlife.blogspot.com/ Bitter Animator

    I’d love to see this. Unfortunately, distance is an issue.

    I’m both envious and inspired by how Nina Paley pulled this off. Even without having seen it, just doing it is a stunning achievement.

  • http://www.rohitiyer.com/ Rohit Iyer

    Congrats, Nina! All the best for the screening! :)

  • http://www.abelboddy.com C.Edwards

    Is “Sita” coming back to New York anytime soon? I saw the work-in-progress at Platform and was so impressed, I can’t wait to see the finished film.

  • Sarah

    I feel like the who wasn’t invited to a birthday party. Hopefully this film will have it own feature in NYC, I really love the trailers and character of this movie. It drives me crazy when I read articles about it.

  • http://mwbworld.blogspot.com/ mwb

    Yeah, Sita plug! I’ve been following this since the beginning and even have donated to Nina to help keep it going.

    She’s gone through an epic struggle just making this wonderful film, so it doubly deserves support. The route for independent animation is hard and to still produce such a work under such circumstances is really remarkable.

    Of course, now it just needs to come to Boston! ;-)

  • http://blog.ninapaley.com Nina Paley

    Is “Sita” coming back to New York anytime soon?

    Yes!

  • Dave

    An utterly amazing film.

  • Steve Gattuso

    I will have to catch this on the 13th. I’ve enjoyed the sections I’ve seen and can’t wait to see the completed movie.

  • Joe Horne

    who’s watching the cat? i’ll be there…..

  • Tom Minton

    From the clips I’ve seen, Nina Paley never forgot to be entertaining. That’s no small achievement, right there.

  • http://chrisbattleillustration.blogspot.com Chris Battle

    Awesome! Definitely gonna try to make it to the screening. Congrats on the continued exposure, Nina!

  • http://twobenswamp.blogspot.com Emmett Goodman

    I can’t wait to see SITA. I’ve missed opportunities to see it. But I’ve marked my calendar for its next showing in New York. I’ve heard nothing but good news about this film, and it seems as though Nina really pulled it off. Lets hope this film gets the distribution it deserves.

  • Willy

    I saw it in Ottawa too.
    It’s a MASTERPIECE!

    Congratulations Nina!

    Willy Hartland

  • Paul N

    I’ve been a Nina fan since her days of doing a strip for the Santa Cruz Comic News. I’m glad Sita is getting the attention it is, and I’m looking forward to seeing it.

  • Brianne

    This looks amazing. Going to try to catch it for some well needed inspiration!

  • Phil Salomon

    This film is playing at the Chicago International Film Festival on October 18, 19, and 28, so I’ll have to check it out.

  • http://www.animationinsider.net/ Aaron H. Bynum

    The film will also be playing at the Chicago International Film Festival later in October; of which I hope to attend one of the three screenings they have listed (the last time I checked). Showing 10/18; 10/19 and 10/28.

  • http://patsanimation.com pat

    Yay! Get this up to San Francisco, I wanna go!

  • http://fluidtoons.blogspot.com Brett W. Thompson

    I can’t wait to see this. I absolutely love the clips I’ve seen and I think Nina is amazing.

  • ryan d

    i’m excited to be seeing it tomorrow (sunday) at the Vancouver International Film Festival. It’s also showing Wednesday Oct 8 and Thursday October 9.

  • http://www.sisterson.co.uk Dennis Sisterson

    Like Bitter Animator, I’m inspired and envious! This film vindicates everything Ralph Bakshi said at San Diego a few weeks ago – to “quit bitching” about the state of the industry, just get your act together and do it yourself – and gives the finger to anyone who is still saying you can’t make a feature film on your own. That’s not to say it’s not a fantastic achievement – but it does prove it’s poossible.
    Also, for an independent animator working alone, the soundtrack can be the biggest problem and potentially the biggest expense – she’s solved that neatly by using what I presume is public domain material for some of it, and the contributions of willing friends for the rest, then letting that lead her creativity in a way that would be impossible for a studio – a case of art thriving on restriction.
    Brava Nina!

  • http://blog.ninapaley.com Nina Paley

    Aww shucks, thanks y’all.

    They’re not promoting it at all yet (grr) but there is San Francisco International Animation Festival Nov. 13-16. Since I expect to be fully recovered by then, I plan to attend (I was really looking forward to attending the RedCat screening but got too sick to fly for a while).

    More screenings listed here.

  • Eric Graf

    Errrrrgggh – why did it have to be the 13th? This is going to be complicated.

    But I’ll make it work. I’ve bought the ticket, and I will be there somehow, although a Star Trek transporter would be helpful. I’ve been looking forward to this movie. Thanks, Jerry, for the heads-up.

    Hey Nina, any chance of it being submitted to the Oscars?

  • http://cookiebite.blogspot.com tali

    i saw this at annecy, it’s great! A huge accomplishment. It’s very inspiring to see that 1 person can create an animated feature film. :)

  • http://www.numairabbas.com Numair (Nimmer) Abbas

    wowwww. Man I’m so going to miss this :( :( :( I’ve moved back to Pakistan from LA and NOW this gets launched. *sob* Any chances of it showing in India or Pakistan yet? :S

  • Anne

    Sweet….I’ve been waiting for this to come to LA. I’m there! :)

  • http://www.brothersmcleod.co.uk Myles McLeod

    I saw this at the Klik! Amsterdam Animation Festival. I thought it was great. Really funny – especially the bits where the three characters are trying to decide what the history behind the legend is. The songs go so well with the story and I love the fact there are different styles for different parts of the film. A great accomplishment. “That’s all!”

  • http://teatime-cady.blogspot.com Kelly

    Since NOTHING ever comes to Canada, any hope of this film going on sale? I would buy it in a heartbeat! You should be proud of yourself, Miss Paley! =D

  • Kent Butterworth

    Wish I could make it, but I’ll be at MIP pushing my own Indy Animation movie. (Shameless plug for “Attila and the Great Blue Bean”!)

    We’re in a Golden Age of Independently produced animation. Today’s digital tools are making it possible for animators, by working their butts off, to make these movies the way WE want to make them.

    Wishing you great success, Nina!

  • http://torontoanimation.blogspot.com TempleDog

    NINA! I missed it up in Ottawa, cuz I was workin’ on sumpin’ for a friend. I’d buy the DVD in a minute…what’s the situation? Also, any chance of a screening in Toronto in the post-TIFF season?

  • Steve Gattuso

    Sorry to hear you can’t make the Redcat screening, but I’m still looking forward to seeing your movie. Get well quick, you may need to fly out for an Annie! ;3

  • http://www.digitalcheddar.com/brian Brian

    This was GREAT! A really enjoyable evening at the Redcat last night; THIS is the kind of animation that will get the foam out of the kiddie-pool. I managed to buy a DVD (they didn’t have many) but I hope they a) run this for a week somewhere so it’s Oscar-eligible, and b) eventually make it more widely available, say through iTunes or Netflix.

    Among favorite scenes, the introductory overture was astonishing; “Mean to Me” was wonderful on the big screen (it had been available as a test reel on NP’s website); Nina’s use of static photos in the modern scenes; and the “Mother Earth” finale. Go see this if you get a chance.

    (Oh, and it’s refreshing to see a movie in America that treats religion as a story with meaning to people, rather than as literal truth or a poison to society. Well done.)

  • Eric Graf

    MARVELOUS.