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Sintel poster.jpg
Sintel promotional poster
Directed byColin Levy
Written byEsther Wouda
Produced byTon Roosendaal
StarringHalina Reijn
Thom Hoffman
Music byJan Morgenstern
Layouts byDavid Revoy
Distributed byBlender Foundation
Release dates
  • 27 September 2010 (2010-09-27) (Netherlands Film Festival)
  • 30 September 2010 (2010-09-30) (Online)
Running time
14 minutes 48 seconds
Sintel, full movie

Sintel, code-named Project Durian during production, is a 2010 computer-animated fantasy short film. It was the third Blender "open movie". It was produced by Ton Roosendaal, chairman of the Blender Foundation, written by Esther Wouda, directed by Colin Levy, at the time an artist at Pixar and art direction by David Revoy, who is known for Pepper&Carrot an open source webcomic series.[3] It was made at the Blender Institute, part of the Blender Foundation. The plot follows the character, Sintel, who is tracking down her pet Scales, a dragon. Just like the other Blender "open movies," the film was made using Blender, a free and open source software application for animation, created and supported by the Blender Foundation.

The name comes from the Dutch word sintel, which can mean 'cinder',[4] or 'ember'.[5]


Work began in May 2009. The film was officially released on 27 September 2010 at the Netherlands Film Festival.[1] The online release was made available for download on 30 September 2010.[6] The film was viewed over 1,000,000 times in a matter of weeks. By May 2020, it was viewed 5.2 million times on YouTube.[6]


The main character, Sintel, is attacked while traveling through a wintry mountainside. After defeating her attacker and taking his spear, she finds refuge in a shaman's hut. He asks her why she is traveling, and she confesses that she is looking for a dragon, leading into a flashback. Sintel was a homeless loner, looking for food when she discovered an injured baby dragon. She nursed him back to health and named him Scales, and the two quickly formed an emotional bond. One day, while Scales was flying, he was captured by an adult dragon. Determined to get him back, she began the long and dangerous journey that led her to the shaman's hut.

Sintel is ready to give up when the shaman tells her that they are in dragon lands, showing her the glyph on her attacker's spear as proof. She finds the tree pictured on the spear, and near it a cave with an adult dragon and his baby. The baby runs away upon seeing Sintel, and the adult dragon attacks. After a brief battle the adult dragon pins Sintel to the ground, but freezes when he recognizes her scent. Sintel takes advantage of this momentary pause and stabs the dragon in the heart. As she is about to land the killing blow, she notices the scar on his wing is exactly the same as her old friend's. Sintel discovers in a moment of horror that she has just killed Scales.

Scales bleeds out rapidly, and Sintel stares in shock at her reflection in a pool of blood. It is revealed that she is significantly older than she has appeared throughout the film. She has much gray hair, worn and wrinkled skin, and several scars on her body. The long search for Scales had lasted many years, and she had never realized that Scales would have grown up. Her single-minded quest to get back her friend, and to take revenge on the large dragon who took Scales away, contributed to her mistaking Scales for the small dragon. The cave begins to collapse as Scales gives his last breath, and Sintel runs for the entrance.

After mourning over the friend she killed, Sintel leaves, heartbroken. Scales' baby, having nowhere else to go, follows her.


Some sections were displayed on 25 October 2009,[7] the trailer on YouTube was made available on 13 May 2010,[8] while an almost-final version of the movie screened at a "pre-premiere" on 19 July 2010.[9] The full movie premiered at the Netherlands Film Festival on 27 September 2010,[10] and was officially released online on 30 September.[6][11]

Technical information[edit]

Following Elephants Dream, Big Buck Bunny, and Yo Frankie, the short movie is the fourth project created by the Blender Foundation. Sintel was created by the Blender Institute, a division of the Blender Foundation set up specifically to facilitate the creation of open content films and games.[12][13]

The film was funded by the Blender Foundation, donations from the Blender community, pre-sales of the film's DVD and commercial sponsorship. Both the final product and production data, including animation data, characters and textures are released under the Creative Commons Attribution License.[12]

Improvements to Blender[edit]

As with the previous Blender Open Movie Projects, Blender developers worked extensively to improve the software in accordance with the needs of the movie team. Improvements were made in the user interface, the particle system, sculpting, shading, the render pipeline, constraints, and smoke simulation. These features were released to the public with Blender v. 2.50 alpha through 2.54 beta.[14]

Copyright incident[edit]

On 5 April 2014, Sintel was temporarily blocked from viewing on the Blender Foundation's official YouTube channel after Sony Pictures issued a takedown notice to YouTube falsely claiming it owned the copyrights to the film.[15]


Dutch daily newspaper Het Parool featured a capture of the film on its front page, along with a short review describing it as "darker and less accessible than its child friendly predecessors," but also stating that in "image quality, detail and characters, the film is on par with Hollywood animation."[16]


A game based on Sintel was officially announced on on 12 May 2010. Alpha version became available in July 2012.


  1. ^ a b "Durian Open Movie Project » Blog Archive » Sintel official premiere". Durian Open Movie Project Blog. 1 September 2010.
  2. ^ "Blender Foundation Releases Open Source Movie Sintel". NewTeeVee. 1 October 2010. Archived from the original on 4 October 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  3. ^ "Interview with Sintel's art director David Revoy | Libre Graphics World". Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  4. ^ "Definition of Cinder".
  5. ^ "Logo/identity design".
  6. ^ a b c "Sintel — Official website". Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  7. ^ Durian, Project. "Durian First Minute — 01". Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  8. ^ ""Sintel" Trailer, Durian Open Movie Project". YouTube. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  9. ^ "Sintel Pre-premiere". 19 July 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Sintel Official Premiere". 16 August 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  11. ^ "Sintel Release Expected Thursday, September 30th". 23 September 2010.
  12. ^ a b "About". Big Buck Bunny site. Blender Foundation. Archived from the original on 28 October 2007. Retrieved 4 February 2008.
  13. ^ "Blender Institute". Blender Foundation. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2008.
  14. ^ "Blender 2.56a Beta". Blender Foundation.
  15. ^ Phipps, Simon (14 April 2014). "Sony and Google gang up for an illegal video takedown". InfoWorld. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  16. ^ "Animatie 'Sintel' zet de standaard (Animation 'Sintel' sets the standard)". Het Parool. 9 September 2010.

External links[edit]