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DISTRIBUTING SITA SINGS THE BLUES

by
in Filmmaking
on Dec 31, 2008

Moments after I posted, below, about Roger Ebert’s love for Sita Sings the Blues and a day after we shipped the new issue of Filmmaker to the printer — an issue that contains Karina Longworth’s piece on the movie — Paley has posted on her website a post that updates us all on her plans for distributing the film. Frankly, I found her plan pretty exciting in the way it hybridizes free and for-sale aspects.

When we decided to award her film the Gotham “Best Film at a Theater Near You” Award, the film’s distribution woes were a topic of discussion. Was it right to give an award to an undistributed film that had reasons for being undistributed? Well, we liked the film a lot, and we thought the award could help its distribution situation, but we also hoped that Paley would come up with the kind of outside-the-box plan she seems to have come up with.

If you haven’t been following her story, check out her blog now. An excerpt:

Which brings us to step two: while making one DVD pressing of 4,999 copies, I will place promotional files of the entire film – at all resolutions, including broadcast-quality, HD, and film-quality image sequences – online at archive.org and as many mirror hosts as volunteer to share it. I will license it either as Creative Commons Share-Alike, or some equivalent of the GNU/Linux license. This will prevent it and any derivative works from ever being copyrighted by anyone. Of course this license won’t apply to the songs, which will remain under copyright by their respective corporate overlords. But clearing the licenses first will decriminalize it, and make it safer to screen in theaters (and theaters will be free to screen it and charge for it without obligation to me). The free online copies are promotional copies.

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