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The Gooseberry Project is a unique open source film project consisting of developers who have created the 3D animation software Blender. Providing this to the world for free, in response they are receiving films that are going to be free for anyone to see. It is the code name for The Blender Foundation, with a long experience in managing open source films.

Their latest is a feature film about Michel the sheep and his female friend, throwing themselves in an unusual adventure. “It will be a funny, absurdist and adventurous love story, directed by Mathieu Auvray”, says the Blender Institute. There are twelve independent studios working on it from around the world – the UK, Finland, Poland, France, Italy, The Netherlands (headquarters), Israel, India, Indonesia, Australia, South Africa, two teams from the United States, Costa Rica, Brazil and Argentina. It is greatly supported by the Blender Foundation, the Creative Industries Fund and the MEDIA Programme of the European Union. The final release should be towards the end of 2015.

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In an interview with Ester Wouda, the screenwriter for The Gooseberry Project and Mathieu Auvray, the biggest challenge is to bring all these studios with different stories together in one feature film. “It’s twelve studios, with all these different qualities and atmospheres, and we have to make it into one whole…” Ester says.

“It’s quite difficult to make a film with two characters, and their appearance changes every five minutes… in an animal, an alien, a lot of things. It’s quite challenging to know if we work as one story.” Mathieu adds,“Michel the sheep will be brought in many worlds very quickly, and will fall in love quickly with a female who will get him into trouble.” In the teaser of the film, Michel changes his own look many times but he makes it clear that he’s a sheep.

It’s very interesting that we build these characters that are literally or figuratively flat, but they are really full characters that have their own wishes, dreams, and problems also.

Ester continues, “The female character has a life on her own, wishes on her own, and the big question is whether both lead characters will find each other. It’s a very human story and we both wanted to tell it, about how life affects you, how it changes you in good and bad ways, and it’s about growing.”

Mathieu and Ester are still undecided about the movie title. They don’t mind sharing bits of the script as the development and the production go, however, the story can take different directions any time in the process. “I like first to get to the heart of what we want to tell, and then I add things along the way, until it becomes this big bouquet of flowers that comes together”, Ester explains.

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All studios have a different unique task regarding the development of the film. “I love producing tutorials and making stuff that I made available and for a lot of work we don’t get the chance to do that”, says Ben Simmons from Gecko Animation in London, UK.

The developers from all 12 studios believe that Project Gooseberry will become a historic film while putting the 3D Animation program Blender to the test, sharing everything they create through Blender Cloud.

Marija Makeska is a writer, poet, filmmaker and a visual artist living in Detroit, USA. She enjoys spending her time with people from different cultures while working on various projects with pagan, or gothic themes.

Posted on May 12, 2014

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