Illinois Pioneers

Animator and cartoonist Nina Paley

7:30 pm Thursday, Nov. 20, on WILL-TV

At one time Nina Paley billed herself as America’s Best-Loved Unknown Cartoonist. But that changed with the 2008 premiere of her animated feature film “Sita Sings the Blues.” The film draws on a classic of Indian literature to tell a timeless story of faithless love. It’s been shown at over 150 film festivals and won more than 30 international awards. And it was the struggle over the right to use the music in the film that led her to another area in where she has become known--copyright reform. She talks to host David Inge about how copyright law stifles creativity rather than protecting them.

Paley made her first animation when she was just 13 with a borrowed Super 8 camera and a “how to” book from the library. She didn’t get back to animation until she was 30, said David. “She made a few short films, and then a combination of things, most importantly her interest in one of the classics of Indian literature and the breakup of her marriage, led her to make a film that has brought her worldwide fame.” She tells David she was originally drawn to cartooning because it was more than just drawing pictures. It was also a way to communicate with other people.