Moses and Aaron lead the Israelites to the Red Sea in this still from Nina Paley’s feature-length animated film Seder-Masochism, which screened at the Vancouver International Film Festival last year and is available to view for free online at archive.org/details/sedermasochism. Being in the public domain means that all of Paley’s animation and images are free for anyone to use. Nonetheless, the Jewish Independent requested and received her blessing to run the images from the film that grace the cover of this issue and its Passover section.
According to sedermasochism.com, the film “loosely follows the Passover seder story, with events from the Book of Exodus retold by Moses, Aharon, the Angel of Death, Jesus and the director’s father. The film puts a twist on the traditional biblical story by including a female deity perspective – the Goddess – in a tragic struggle against the forces of patriarchy.”
The feature was “in the works since 2012, when Paley first animated a scene called This Land Is Mine, a parody about never-ending conflict in the Levant, which has been viewed over 10 million times on various online channels.” Paley has written and designed a companion book, The Seder-Masochism: A Haggadah and Anti-Haggadah, which can be purchased through Amazon.
Paley is also the creator of the animated musical feature film Sita Sings the Blues, which, her bio at palegraylabs.com notes, “has screened in over 150 film festivals and won over 35 international awards.” It continues: “Her adventures in our broken copyright system led her to join questioncopyright.org as artist-in-residence in 2008. Prior to becoming an animator, Nina was a syndicated cartoonist. A 2006 Guggenheim Fellow, she also produced a series of animated shorts about intellectual freedom called Minute Memes. Nina began quilting in 2011 as a way to do something real with her hands after years of pushing pixels.”
Readers can find out more about Paley at blog.ninapaley.com.