This indie short called "Sintel" is a startling combination of cuteness and tragedy.

The short was created as a proof-of-concept for an open source 3D animation package called Blender. The Blender Foundation explains:

"Sintel" is an independently produced short 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 1000s of donations via 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.

Pretty damn awesome for a demo. And the animation is great. With software like this available for free, the future of indie animation looks pretty damn awesome.

via the official Sintel website

(Thanks, Todd!)