The Morevna Project: Free and Open Source Anime

Posted: 2010-02-23

Regardless of your feelings towards anime, any free culture advocate should appreciate this effort. The Morevna Project is working towards the creation of a full-length anime film using only free and open source software to be released as free content. Similar to the Blender Foundation's Open Movie (and Game) Projects, the Morevna Project aims to promote FOSS tools and ideals, test and improve the FOSS tools used for production, validate the use of FOSS tools for professional use, and finally, to provide free content for others to share, use, and build upon. They will be using various tools to produce their futuristic adaptation of the Russian fairy tale “Marya Morevna”. 2D animation is being done with Synfig, who we'd like to thank for supporting us with a banner, along with Pencil. 3D modeling and animation is of course being done with Blender. Finally, GIMP and Krita are being used for static bitmap images and Inkscape for vectors. We will absolutely be promoting the Morevna Project and as many of these tools as possible when we showcase Ubuntu @ Anime Boston.

The anime community is the most far-reaching group sitting in such a perfect position to embrace the free culture philosophy. They are more ready than most and this could help revive their hurting industry as well as validate the viability of free content for creators around the world.

A  CLI-tan by chrislnew
Already, the japanese anime and manga community is highly participatory with the creation of anime music videos (AMV), fansubs, and dōjinshi (self-published fan works), so they should be extremely receptive to the concepts behind the free Culture movement. Getting them to try FOSS tools should also be less difficult because the anime fandom tends to be geekier and more open minded. This group, so incredibly passionate and tight-knit that they have huge conventions around the world and are known for cosplay (dressing in costume), can really help free culture ideals spread virally through their global community. I can think of only two things that might require stressing: dispelling the myth that copyright restrictions are about due credit when in fact plagiarism is plagiarism regardless of copyright, and most copyleft licenses still require attributing credit; and that non-commercial (NC) is non-free.

In addition, we could be a big help to the anime industry. Although generally permissive of derivative fan works, they retain copyright which makes the legality of such works questionable. On top of this, the industry is hurting from their reliance on traditional media distribution and reluctance to embrace new technologies. We should be demonstrating the potential behind embracing their participatory culture and using the internet as a distribution platform in combination with funding models like that of Blender's Open Projects or the threshold pledge system and/or using micropayment services like Flattr. Accomplishing this could both help revive the anime industry as well as the validate publishing free content as beneficial for creators and sustainable for business.