Animation: Nina Paley, Animator/Illustrator/Cartoonist


  1. Can You please introduce yourself to the reader who might not know of you?

  1. As I said in our first email contact, I’m collecting a series of interviews with filmmakers who have taken varied paths toward distribution and marketing.

Your decision to use file sharing program Bit Torrent to distribute your animated feature, Sita Sings the Blues, has garnered a lot of attention. Can you talk about that decision? What were the factors that lead up to it?

My decision was to FREE SSTB, not “use file sharing program Bit Torrent to distribute your animated feature”. I knew that in freeing my work BitTorrents would probably be used to distribute it, but that’s not the point – I don’t personally use most of the distribution channels that get my work out into the world. The point of freeing my work is the audience distributes it for me. Distribution is simply not my problem any more. The audience does it faster, better, further and more effectively than I or any centralized distributor could.

  1. Could you share more about the ethics behind the file sharing movement?

  1. .  What’s your experienced vantage point on film distribution today? Are makers themselves being asked to carry more of the financial burden? What does the word “independent” mean in relation to film today?

Attention is scarce. Information is not. It’s not your film that’s the precious resource, it’s the audience’s attention. Getting attention is every artist’s problem today, and there’s no magic way to solve it. Freeing my work removes a huge obstacle, but it’s no guarantee of attention. It’s just one step.

  1. Although more film students are now shooting features, most graduate and undergraduate work in still made in short format. Much of your own work has been shorts, including the well-celebrated Minute Memes. How is distribution and marketing different for shorts?

Distribution and marketing is the same for everything I do: Free it, share it, and let the audience do the rest, if they so choose. Since a feature requires so much more time and work than a short I will put more time and work into promoting my next feature, when it’s done in a few years. But for me the principles are the same. Again, see

  1. Is there any advice you have for film students today?

Well I dropped out of college. And I stopped teaching college because I found most students were more interested in grades than the work itself, which I found kind of depressing. All I care about is the work. That’s all audiences really care about, too. 

More on Nina Paley’s work can be found on her blog:








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