February 02, 2009


By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell University will host the Pennsylvania premiere of "Sita Sings the Blues" on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. in Trout Auditorium of the Vaughan Literature Building.

Director Nina Paley and one of the film's voice actors, Bhavana Nagulapally, will introduce the film and take questions after the screening.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the University Lectureship Committee, Film/Media Studies, Library and IT, the Department of English and the Department of Religion.

Copyright battle
"Astonishingly, the film was made by one person — filmmaker Nina Paley — on her home computer over the course of five years," said Eric Faden, film/media studies professor at Bucknell.

The movie remains without a commercial release because of a copyright battle over its music, according to Faden. "Paley continues to show the film, even if it means breaking the law, to raise awareness about the insanity of our current copyright system," he said.

"It's an extraordinary film, easily the best thing I've seen in the last year," he said. "It's a shame that most audiences can't see it because of our copyright system. It really shows how our current laws need reforming to allow artists like Nina to make new works."

'Sita Cries a River,' credit: Nina PaleyUnconventional topic
The animated film humorously retells the Indian epic Ramayana through three interspersed stories, bouncing from ancient times to contemporary settings.

Stylistically, the film incorporates the history of animation from traditional hand-drawn 2D animation to computer-generated 3D imagery.

The critically acclaimed, award-winning animated feature film has appeared in more than 50 international film festivals and won several awards, including Best Feature Film at the Avignon French Film Festival. 

A faculty member at Parsons School of Design and a 2006 Guggenheim Fellow, Paley is a veteran of syndicated comic strips, creating "Fluff" (Universal Press Syndicate), "The Hots" (King Features), and her own alternative weekly "Nina's Adventures." Her first feature, "Sita Sings the Blues," was inspired by her 2002 trip to India, where she read her first Ramayana.

Read an interview with director Nina Paley in Wired magazine.

Read film critic Roger Ebert's review .

Contact: Division of Communications

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