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Online Film Festival - March 6-8 - Open To the Public!

Click here to see video above in a large video player.

In cooperation with the Illudium Film Society, we will be presenting our first online film festival March 6-8, 2015.

The festival will begin at 2 p.m. CST, Friday, March 6th.

We will present the festival's films via high-quality streaming media services. All you need to participate is a broadband connection and a web browser. Our online film festival is FREE and open to anyone as a public service.

We will be featuring four unique short entertainment films from the open-source movement. The general theme for the festival is community-centric grass-roots-funded. Most of the examples that we will be presenting are open source films. Four films of the films come from one of the leaders in the open source film movement, the Blender Foundation.

All four films, all of the software used to make these films are free, open source or very low cost. In addition, the four of the five films being presented as well as all of their work product are also open source and freely available. The films are free to display anywhere.

In the times of big budget studio films, see what a bunch of folks can do with almost no budget, free software and lots of talent!

We proudly present all five films in our first online film festival. For more information about the films and our film festival, please click the buttons in the sidebar of this page.

March 5th Preview Look

On Thursday, March 5, 2015, at 7:00 p.m. Central time, we will be offering a preview look at the festival for one hour. Beginning at 7:00 p.m., all five films will be available for viewing. We will close the preview 60 minutes later, at exactly 8:00 p.m. All are invited to see the preview.

Just Have Fun

We are presenting this film festival just for the fun of hosting it. We will be using the traffic from the festival to get operational data from the performance of our new media platform, but that is all behind the scenes. We simply want you to enjoy the films being presented.

We do our own professional media production for this website, and that means that we are filmmakers too. We love film as an art form and appreciate the creative work of others. We are delighted to present these films and will enjoy them as much as anyone.

The Film Being Presented

Four of our films are from the open source film movement and are short subjects from 10-15 minutes in duration. They are multiple award winners from other international film festivals. The four open source films we will be presenting are:

  • Elephants Dream (2005)
  • Big Buck Bunny (2008)
  • Sintel (2010)
  • Tears of Steel (2012)

The fifth film is "From Little Acorns" (2010), which has been carried on this website for the last three years as a reference test of our Adaptive Streaming capabilities. For the film festival, it has been re-mastered and re-encoded using our new media platform. It is shown here as a reference sample of the capabilities of our new platform.

Note from Ton

As a standard courtesy, I sent a note to Ton Roosendaal, Chairman Blender Foundation and Producer of the four Blender films we're showing to apprise him of the use of his films in this film festival. I received the following note back from him:

Hi Bill,

Thanks for letting me know, it always makes me happy to read about people being able to use our free/open work. I hope our work inspires people to become creative with technology as well. So many stories to tell, so many discoveries to be made.

All the best,


Significance of the Films Being Presented

The four short films being present are significant because they are some of the best examples of the emerging open source film movement. There simply aren't that many purely open source films. The open source film movement is young, only about twelve years old. In that time, only a handful of films has been released. Of those films, the Blender Foundation has made four of them; the four being presented here.

Because these films fall under the Creative Commons license, we can show them online in this festival. We simply aren't able to show online any of the many commercial films because their copyright holders would never allow it. These online source films present one of the few opportunities to conduct an online film festival.

Please Consider Making a Donation to Blender

The Blender Foundation receives no fees for displaying their films. If you enjoyed them, please consider making a donation directly to the Blender Foundation. Blender is currently working on their next film that will be a full-length feature. Any donation, even a small one, will help them achieve their goal. If you are interested, click here for details.

Our Work To Enhance the Presentation Quality of All of the Films

Most websites merely pick up the media files supplied at the films' website and transcode them for use on their sites. While quick and easy to do, the source files provided are only of moderate quality; suitable for a blog perhaps or non-critical viewing, but less than optimal. The results of streaming these moderate-quality source files are not as good as they could be.

Unfortunately, the films' websites do not provide true intermediate master files in the proper mastering formats and using bit rates that are appropriate for masters (in our opinion.)

The moderate-quality files that are easily available are not suitable for a film festival. Festivals, by their nature, attract film buffs who appreciate, if not demand, the highest possible quality.

The situation presents an excellent opportunity to use our new media platform to add value to these films.

In keeping with our mission as the host of this festival, we will be presenting these film in exceptionally high quality using our new streaming media platform. Using the concept of open source, we have been able to get the original individual frames of all of the films and re-render each film into new uncompressed masters for all four films.

Using our new master files, we then used our new encoding farm to make Adaptive Streaming distribution sets for each film in eleven different bit rates and spatial sizes. We will be presenting the films from these new high-quality sources.

For the serious film buff, you may have previously seen one or more of these films, but not at this quality. The enhanced quality of our presentation files is our "added value" as the host of the festival.


How To Attend

Attending the film festival is easy. This web page is the "home" for this online event. Prior to the beginning of the film festival, this page and its section of our public website will contain pre-event information. To see all of the pages in this section, see the buttons in the sidebar on the right-hand side of this page. These pages are stocked with complete background information as well a "The Making Of" feature for each film.

From time to time, we will be adding new pages and additional information so please return to the website often.

When the film festival opens at  2 p.m. Central Time on Friday, March 6, 2015, the sidebar will be updated to include buttons that will link to each film in the festival.

If you are a registered member of our Connected Community (see below), we will be sending you an e-mail notice when the festival opens, and the films are available for viewing.

Simply return to this page (bookmark it for convenience) and use it as your "jumping-off spot" for viewing all of our films, features and informational pages.

If you are not yet a member of our FREE Connected Community, you are invited to register. In addition to all of the free content included in the community, you will also receive timely information via e-mail about the film festival and reminder notices when the festival opens.

Click here to register in our Connected Community; it's FREE!

Please Join Us at the Movies!

Please join us the weekend of the film festival. Also, please invite your friends as well. The more people you invite, the better! Admission to the film festival is FREE and open to all.

Also, watch the films as many times as you wish.

You and your friends can use any device you wish to view the films and any reasonably fast broadband connection. We do recommend that you use the fastest possible broadband network that is available to you. Faster networks will allow us to serve a higher quality version of each film to your device.

To view each film at the highest possible quality that we offer (1080p, which is 1920 x 1080 x 24 frames per second) your broadband connection should be able to sustain video payload of about 8,692-kilobits per second. However, through our Adaptive Streaming platform, we are also presenting each film in ten lesser speeds. Our media platform will automatically throttle up or down to serve the highest quality video stream that your broadband connection will allow.

The slowest speed presented will be as low as 264-kilobits per second, typical of a slow third-generation wireless network. Whatever connection speed you have, our platform will automatically adjust to accommodate you.

Watch from your smartphone, computer or Chromecast the festival's films to your 1080p high-definition television screen.

Each film is about 15 minutes in length, and all five films in the festival take about an hour to view. We also have plenty of background material to read and about two hours of bonus features.