Cinema Features

Open source European animation


Elephants and
animation films seem to be extremely linked in the past recent times. Just last
year, Norwegian director Christopher Nielsen surprised us with the irreverent
and not much political correct film Free Jimmy, and now, Dumbo’s
colleagues are again represented in the title of this European new short film: Elephants
, just released a few months ago, developed by the minds of the
Blender Foundation and the Orange Open Movie Project settled in Amsterdam,

s director, you can find the Syrian Bassam Kurdali, but the crew
that made the film possible is just a melting pot of nationalities from such
different places as Germany,
Holland or Finland itself.
Globalization serving the noble purpose of creating animation!

But this time, do not expect to find another lovely huge animal wandering
around the screen. The short film take us into a surrealistic universe, dark
and oppressive, with machines that look like animals (or animals that look like
machines), monsters and platforms that move up and down this post-apocalyptic
landscape, just like extracted from a Salvador Dali's bad dream. In the
middle of all this, we find the two human main characters: Emo and Proog. While
the younger one fights against a world that is strange and unknown for him, the
other tries to make him understand how wonderful it is. You can find quite many
references to other films all over the action, maybe being one of the clearest
ones while they are crossing the invisible precipice
{sidebar id=12}(Does the third part of Indiana
Jones ring a bell to anyone…?), but farther than just a moral or
philosophical analysis of what is happening there between the characters, the
main virtue of the film is the originality in its conception and accessibility.
Elephants Dream is the world’s first open movie made entirely with open
source graphics software and with all production files freely available to use
however you please, under a Creative Commons license. As well, a German company
launched a DVD about the film that happens to be the first European film
released with the format HD DVD.

Some months ago, we had an exclusive interview in FREE! Magazine
with the young creators of Star Wreck, Samuli Torssonen and Timo
Vuorensola. They made possible, after seven years of huge effort and
limited resources, the creation of an open source movie, freely available in
Internet, that would quickly become the most ever watched Finnish movie of the history.
The success was so big that Universal launched an extended version in DVD with
many extra features. Finland is represented as well in Elephants Dream with Bastian
as one of the lead actors and Toni Alatalo as technical
director, so once more we find a clear example of the good health that the
European animation market (and particularly the Finnish one) is enjoying when
exploring the new possibilities of open source movies. Will this become an
extended trend and the big companies will pay extra attention to those products
that show success in the free Internet market? Time will tell, but there is no
question that breaking projects like this Elephants Dream put on the
table new alternatives of accessing and distributing free films made with high


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