I've encountered open/free (as in freedom) music, books, hardware, knowledge and naturally software. But do open source movies also exist? Is that even possible?

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    How long does a "movie" have to be? Also, yes. Sort of.
    – HDE 226868
    Jul 9, 2015 at 18:03
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    The Blender Foundation, creators of the 3D software Blender, have made several successful completely open source movies.
    – J Sargent
    Jul 9, 2015 at 20:21
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    For non-CGI source, you'd also have to deal with things like model release/waiver, sections that an interviewee had requested not to be published, sections where the camera is recording but no official recording started yet or has finished, test recording, etc. Editing these out of the source material is essentially an entire work themselves.
    – Lie Ryan
    Jul 10, 2015 at 1:18
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    For those reasons, I think Open Source films cannot possibly exists; at least not in the same sense of open source as we had with software source code. On the other hand, a libre movies certainly does exists; CC-licensed movies and clips are libre. Most answers below actually refer to libre movies.
    – Lie Ryan
    Jul 10, 2015 at 1:23
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    @LieRyan The issues you cite are no different than a software project that has multiple contributors. Different projects deal with those issues differently but these in no way prevent the creation of a open source film. Jul 11, 2015 at 7:29

6 Answers 6


Yes, there is such a thing as open-source films.

from wikipedia:

A definition of an open-source film is based on the OSI's open-source software definition and the Definition of Free Cultural Works. This definition can be applied to films where:

  • The license of the movie is approved for Free Cultural Works. Specifically this is true for the Creative Commons licenses BY and BY-SA.
  • The materials used in the movie (sources) are also available under a license which is approved for free cultural works.
  • The movie and its sources are made publicly available via an online download or by other means that are either free or with a cost that covers reasonable reproduction expenses only.
  • The sources should be viewable and editable with free/open-source software. If this is not the case, they must be convertible into such a format by using free/open-source software. The same applies to the movie itself.
  • It should be possible to re-create or re-assemble the movie using the source materials.

There don't seem to be many films listed as truly open source (sort by Open Source Movie) but there are a few.

A notable example is the critically acclaimed movie Sita Sings the Blues. which is currently licensed under CC0 (Public domain). Of which you can actually download all .fla files and use them as you like, with the restriction of some none open source songs used in the movie.


open source movies do exist and are spread out amongst varied organizations that support the movement.
the internet archive runs a community open source movies portal:

wikimedia commons has a list of open source media, although i'm not sure how many of these videos qualify as "movies", as opposed to simply video:

penn state runs a similar site with a list of open source media:

the a/v film geeks archive (also by the internet archive) has over 1000 submissions:

public domain flicks offers movies in the public domain:

you can also try the open video project:


Another example is Sintel from the organization behind Blender

When I was exploring their site, my first impression from the downloads page was that only the finished video was available. But on the "About" page I found this

The movie itself, and all of the work of the Durian team in the past 18 months will be released under the Creative Commons Attribution license, free for everyone to distribute, learn from or re-use. The 4-disc DVD set will provide all data to be able to recreate and rerender the film in its entirety.

(Emphasis mine)

Presumably, they didn't want to support the bandwidth for many users downloading a 16Gb dataset. But the full source of the movie is available.

It is licensed under "Creative Commons Attribution 3.0." which I interpret as CC BY.

Now this film, and others like it, are purely CGI. An open-source live-action film, or worse a documentary, might be much more difficult to create. What would you consider the "source" to be in this case?

Though, thinking about it, if the live-action film was published in a digital form under a suitable license you could edit it, reorder the clips, or use clips from it in another video.


For exemple, here is a project called ZeMarmot, a 2D animation movie (under CC BY-SA) made with Open Source softwares like Gimp, Blender on Linux. This project isn't finished yet but it becomes interesting.

  • This answer doesn't offer much that hasn't been said already and would probably work better as a comment.
    – overactor
    Jul 10, 2015 at 6:39
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    @overactor Yeah I know but I don't have the 50 reputations to comment other posts than mine
    – Sovnfield
    Jul 10, 2015 at 9:30

Just to add a live-action film to the list, the documentary Get Lamp is licensed CC BY-SA-NC. The source videos are hosted on the Internet Archive and are licensed CC BY-SA.


There are several open source options...

  • Big Buck Bunny

  • Elephants Dream

  • Tears of Steal

  • Sintel

Just Google search those for current links...

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