I grew up in one of the vast, fly-over states, where nothing much ever seemed to happen except snow-storms and tornadoes. You could either watch the corn grow or the rust decay — take your pick. It wasn’t a bad place to grow up, but it was a little on the dull side, and I always had a sense that there were exciting things happening elsewhere that I was missing out on. As a lover of stories, and storytelling, I would sit in my hometown library and read concert reviews, opera reviews, Broadway reviews and film reviews from film festivals half-way around the world and wonder if I would ever get to see what the conversation was all about. Home videos and then later, the World Wide Web, changed all that. I still live in a fly-over state, but for the most part I can see for myself what everyone is talking about.
So it was a real deja-vu moment for me when I read about an independent film called Sita Sings The Blues in Roger Ebert’s blog. Once again I was reading about what sounded like a wonderful little film but which seemed like something I would never get to see. Of course, this time the problem wasn’t one of distance. Not only could the film not find a distribution venue — neither theatrical film release, nor direct-to-video, nor television premium cable channel seemed like an option — but it was also locked up in copyright hell. The copyright holders of some of the music used in the film were refusing the film-maker the rights to their work.
Thanks to the World Wide Web, the film-maker has found a way to satisfy the music’s copyright holders and make the film available to a world-wide audience. She has made it available for a free download at a website created for the film. There are six or seven different resolutions and formats available. I’m downloading the highest resolution version (1080p) and hope to be able to soon watch what promises to be my most entertaining option for movies this weekend. (I think I’ll pass on the overblown, simple comic book morality tale The Watchmen, which looked ponderously dumb on the sneak preview which aired during USA’s Burn Notice. Yes, every guy in this nation will be lining up to see it, but that only proves my point, I think. I would apologize for this apparent insult to the men out there, but after all, they have the same scorn for “chick flicks”. They can go see a big screen version of some cult graphic novel, whereas I have to sit and HOPE that somehow this independent film-maker has the spunk and drive to overcome big obstacles and make this film available to any audience in some form or fashion.)