“Sintel is an independently produced short animated film, initiated by the Blender Foundation as a means to further improve and validate the free/open source 3D creation suite Blender. With initial funding provided by thousands of donations from the internet community, it has again proven to be a viable development model for both open 3D technology as for independent animation film. This 15- minute film has been realized in the studio of the Amsterdam Blender Institute, by an international team of artists and developers. In addition to that, several crucial technical and creative targets have been realized online, by developers and artists and teams all over the world.”
In May, 2009, Tom Roosendaal established a team of directors, concept artists, and writers to create the astonishing animated short Sintel. Then in July 2009, an open-call for animators and artists, the Durian team of artists were established. As with nearly all independent projects, the production budget for the final movie fell short. It was then the Netherlands Film Fund committed to funding the project and with additional financing support from other organizations, Sintel premiered September 27th 2010 at the Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht.
In review, for nearly 15-mins of film, the story is solid. The characters craftily created and there wasn’t a need for any additional padding. The imagery successfully purveyed its message. Graphically, the texturing is phenomenal. If you view the film in an expanded screen, you can appreciate the fine detail of the young dragon–the graphics truly rendered well.
The animations are fantastic–the camera, angling–when scaling mountains or the young dragon in flight did not lag. The only flaw I saw were the walking and running for the main character, stiff, but only a tad bit. The fight scene between the hero and the attacks by the warrior were well choreographed. But the true power in the animation went into the large dragon and the action scene. The lighting and tone, greatly contrasted, textures were sweet, the visual, and audio presentations are on point.
The film follows Sintel, a girl alone in the world–that is, until she met with an injured baby dragon. She took the small dragon into her home to mend its broken wing. Naturally, her and her dragon, Scales, became inseparable. Just as he began to stretch his wings, Scales was abducted by a much larger dragon. So begins the quest to rescue little Scales. Along the way, Sintel braves the bitter cold, heat, and beasts. She even encounters warriors along the way. When she finally reaches her destination she is again attacked, barely surviving the encounter. She was taken in by a Shaman who heals her wounds, enabling her to continue her quest. Not realizing just how much time has passed, she is much older now and the last thing she remembered, is that she is still searching for her beloved friend. Scales, still young in her heart and her mind, isn’t so young anymore. It isn’t until the very end that this film delivers viewers into its emotional outcome, which is totally unexpected.
Sintel brings a poignant and poetic lesson to light and does well to serve as a great example, to continue the power of community support for indie artists in animation, film, and everywhere.