Sita Sings the Blues Filmmaker Nina Paley Plays Fetch!

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Nina Paley's 2002 short Fetch! was the first Flash-to-35mm short film, but for a seven-year-old technological watershed, it's still pretty great — an adorably simple concept turned into an Escher-like kaleidoscope of twisted perspective and graphic whimsy. If Paley's name sounds familiar, that may be because, about this time last year, we featured The Stork, another short film by her, to coincide with the screening of her amazing mixed-media alt-musical cartoon feature Sita Sings the Blues at Tribeca 2008. Since then, Sita's popularity has only grown, and it's become a genuine cult item, playing a slew of film festivals and winning all sorts of awards, including a Gotham. We say "cult item" and not "Oscar-winning box-office juggernaut" because Sita wasn't able to secure a release for the longest time, due to some ridiculously Byzantine copyright issues. (You can read more about it here.) Paley finally resolved all these issues, but her eye-opening experiences led her to do something brave. At the end of February, she released Sita for free to the masses, under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike License. Which means anyone (especially you) can now see this astounding film, for free.