Austin Texas, March 12, 2014.
On the SXSW conference this week, Blender Institute launched the first crowd-funded, open production computer animation movie – the Gooseberry Project. This feature length film will be made by 12 teams from all over the world, collaborating online using the newly launched Blender Cloud service.
People who want to support the project can choose to split their contribution into small monthly payments, which then gives them access to the same Blender Cloud. This way the supporters will be able to watch and share the progress of the animation teams, and even participate in it.
The crowd-funding target is to get 10,000 people to subscribe to the Blender Cloud – which already offers all the tutorial DVDs, movies and 3D data from previous Blender Institute projects. Monthly subscription is €10 ($13), supporters who stay on board for 18 months get a film credit rewarded.
Blender Institute’s main purpose is to help bring open source 3D creation up to a higher level of support. The heavy demands of feature animation teams will define the work for 15 full time developers. Targets will include asset and project management, new hair and cloth simulation, advanced animation/simulation dependency handling, and work on rendering and compositing.
As usual all the movie production data will be available under open source and Creative Commons licenses – including sound effects, mix and music.
French animation director Mathieu Auvray (Babioles) will develop the script, together with Esther Wouda (Sintel). Both will work in Amsterdam with producer Ton Roosendaal, in the studio of Blender Institute – where central production coordination and development happens as well. The story is about Michel the sheep, who longs to get a more interesting life. It will be a funny, absurdist and adventurous love story.
In total 70-80 people are expected to work for 18 months on the Gooseberry project, in 12 different countries on nearly every continent.
Blender Cloud is set to become the new revenue system for Blender projects in the future, and is expected to offer exciting services for its subscribers in the future, such as storage, versioning, collaboration and sharing.
Ton Roosendaal – chairman Blender Foundation and producer Blender Institute – said: “We still depend on selling books and DVDs to fund our Blender work, which is a declining business now. Everything goes into the cloud nowadays – which has great benefits for users. But – in contrary to other graphics companies – our cloud is not going to be an Iron Curtain, nor a weak excuse to further lock down and hide software. Blender Cloud will be 100% free and open source software and offers 100% free and open data.”
“Project Gooseberry will bring the makers back in control – they will be owners of the movie, and they will be in direct connection with their audience. No big studios are needed here, no film distributors nor TV channels. Here’s the big chance to write our little bit of film history!”