SM in SF

 will screen at the Castro, one of my favorite movie theaters in the whole world, this Sunday July 21 at 11:30am, as part of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. I will be there too!

Here’s a really sweet review of Seder-Masochism in the Jewish News of Northern California. (The whole time I lived in San Francisco, I never used my Jew Card. I didn’t even make a Jew Card until I started Seder-Masochism, a decade after I left the Bay Area. Better late than never.)

I just bought plane tickets an hour ago, partly because the weather forecast for Urbana IL predicts highs of 96°F Thursday onwards, while San Francisco’s predicted highs are 30°F lower. I wasn’t planning to travel this month, since I just got back from Moscow and want to ride my recumbent bicycles as much as I can. But when it’s 96° and humid, I’m not gonna ride anyway.

This trip will also be my last chance to visit the fabled Pentshack, my home in the early 1990’s. My pal Mitch Altman, who has lived there since I sublet it it to him in 1995, is leaving for good, as the house beneath it is being sold. Here’s a picture of the Pentshack interior, with me in it, from those long-ago days:

It’s just up the street from the Castro Theater! Where maybe I’ll see you this coming Sunday July 21 at 11:30am! Seder-Masochism also plays at the Piedmont Theater Saturday, August 3rd, at 8:45pm, but I’ll be back in Illinois by then, biking through the heat and humidity.

SEDER-MASOCHISM: A free public screening, featuring a panel discussion with filmmaker Nina Paley immediately following the movie

At The Virginia Theater, Champaign IL, May 8 @7pm

Date/Time(s): Wed, May 8, 2019 – 7pm (doors open at 6pm)

Seating: General Admission

Tickets: FREE and open to the public

(2018) 78 Min, Not Rated
Loosely following a traditional Passover Seder, events from the Book of Exodus are retold by Moses, Aharon, the Angel of Death, Jesus, and the director’s own father. But there’s another side to this story: that of the Goddess, humankind’s original deity. Seder-Masochism resurrects the Great Mother in a tragic struggle against the forces of Patriarchy.

The film features the voice of the late Hiram Paley, known to many C-U residents as former mayor of Urbana, U of I math professor, and lifelong free speech advocate.

For more, visit

The screening will be followed by a live panel discussion featuring filmmaker Nina Paley, Just Foreign Policy Director Robert Naiman, and other special guests.

Presented by Just Foreign Policy.

Please help promote the screening by printing and posting this flyer! Click for higher resolution.

Admission is FREE. Donate to our fundraising campaign here:

PRESS RELEASE: Seder-Masochism to go Public Domain January 31, 2019


On Thursday, January 31 24, Nina Paley will dedicate her new feature film Seder-Masochism to the public domain, releasing master files on

Seder-Masochism, an animated musical, 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.

Seder-Masochism has been 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.

In addition, Paley has written and designed a companion book, The Seder-Masochism: A Haggadah and Anti-Haggadah, currently available through Amazon.

Paley released her first feature, Sita Sings the Blues, for free to the public in March 2009 under a Creative Commons Share-Alike license, dedicating it to the public domain 5 years later. Contradicting movie industry expectations, the more people saw Sita online, the more they sought it out in theaters and film festivals. In December 2009, Sita enjoyed a 5-week run at the IFC Film Center in New York (extended by popular demand beyond its planned 1-week run), and it continues screening in theaters, festivals, and special events to this day.

Accustomed to working outside the mainstream movie industry, Paley has made Seder-Masochism a one-woman project: she wrote, directed, and animated it herself on a total budget of $20,000. Being independent allows her to release and distribute her films in unorthodox ways – such as into the public domain.

A Public Domain dedication (using a Creative Commons license called CC-0) means anyone can re-use, remix, and redistribute the work, with no restrictions. All of Paley’s animation and images will be free for anyone to use however they wish; however the music will continue to be controlled by its copyright holders.

Paley has no plans to pursue commercial distribution for Seder-Masochism. “I claim Fair Use for the music, but distributors are loath to do that. Instead they’d want to obtain music licenses, which would be daunting,” she says.

Seder-Masochism has screened at nearly 20 festivals thus far, including the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Annecy International Animation Festival, and the Jewish International Film Festival of Australia. It is scheduled for more festivals through Spring 2019, including the New York Jewish Film Festival in January.

The Digital Cinema Package (DCP) release will be issued later in 2019, so that upcoming film festivals can be assured of regional theatrical premieres.

The release of her films into the public domain is just the latest effort Paley has undertaken to advocate for Free Culture. In 2008, while navigating copyright for Sita Sings the Blues, she joined the nonprofit as artist-in-residence, where she later created a series of shorts about Free Culture called Minute Memes. She has spoken extensively about copy restrictions and art, including her 2015 TEDx talk “Copyright is Brain Damage”.

For more information, visit or email

UPDATE: files are now live at