The Blender Institute has unveiled the trailer for Cosmos Laundromat, an “absurdist love story” directed by Mathieu Auvray, which is the Institute’s fifth open source animated project.

The Amsterdam-based Blender Foundation, which creates the open source CG software Blender and also operates the Institute which produces original content like this film, explains what an open and free production is: “Not only will the final movie and all its assets be freely distributed (under a Creative Commons license) for personal viewing and use, but the entire production process is open to the eyes of the public.” That process is being documented online both through a comprehensive website as well as weekly livecasts with the crew.

Cosmos Laundromat is expected to debut in August. The primary form of fundraising for the film is through monthly subscriptions to the Blender Cloud, which is a training resource for users of Blender’s software. The film is planned as a pilot for a TV series or feature film, which if produced, would become the first-ever free/open source series or feature film.

Blender’s mission—free…open source…open content cartoons—flips every traditional animation production model on its head, yet they’re successfully figuring it out as they go along. While it’s still too early to tell if their approach will catch on more widely, Blender’s approach suggests a fascinating alternative to the typical ways of funding, producing, and distributing animation content.

As for Cosmos Laundromat’s “love story,” it’s a little more complicated than suggested in the trailer. Per the official synopsis:

On a desolate island, a suicidal sheep named Franck meets his fate…in the form of a quirky salesman named Victor, who offers him the gift of a lifetime. The gift is many lifetimes, actually, in many different worlds – each lasting just a few minutes. In the pilot, Franck meets Victor and visits the first of these worlds, a vibrant jungle where he is transformed into a caterpillar. The next episode will show Franck finding a new reason to live…in the form of a bewitching female adventurer named Tara, who awakens his long-lost lust for life. But can Franck keep up with her?