Like the foundation's previous films Elephants Dream and Big Buck Bunny, the film was made using Blender, a free software application for animation created and supported by the same foundation. Sintel was produced by Ton Roosendaal, chairman of the Foundation, and directed by Colin Levy, an artist atPixar Animation Studios.
The name comes from the Dutch word sintel, which can mean cinder or ember, as confirmed by Ton Roosendaal in a blog comment:
"Sintel" is [a] piece of glowing coal or metal. It glows brightly, burns, and then becomes ashes...Work began in May 2009. The film was officially released on September 27, 2010 at the Netherlands Film Festival. The online release was made available for download on September 30, 2010. The film was viewed over 1,000,000 times within a matter of weeks.
he film begins with a woman, Sintel, being attacked while traveling through a wintery mountainside. After defeating her attacker and taking his spear, she finds refuge in a shaman's hut. He asks her why she's travelling, and she confesses she's looking for a dragon, leading into a flashback. Sintel was a homeless loner, looking for food when she discovered an injured baby dragon. She nursed him back to health and named him Scales, the two quickly formed an emotional bond. One day while Scales was flying he was captured by an adult dragon. Determined to get him back, Sintel began the long and dangerous journey that led her to the shaman's hut.
She's ready to give up, when the shaman tells her they're in dragon lands, showing the glyph on the spear as proof. She finds the tree pictured on the spear and near it, a cave with the adult dragon and his baby. The baby runs away upon seeing Sintel and the adult dragon attacks. After a brief battle, the adult dragon pins Sintel to the ground, but freezes when he sees her face. Sintel takes advantages of this and stabs the dragon in the heart. As she's about to land the killing blow, she then notices the scar on its wing is exactly the same as her old friend's. Sintel discovers in a moment of horror that she has just killed Scales.
Scales bleeds out rapidly, and Sintel stares in shock at her reflection in a pool of blood. It is revealed that she is significantly older than she has appeared throughout the film. She has many gray hairs, worn and wrinkling skin, and several scars on her body. The long search for Scales had lasted several years and she had never realized it. The cave begins to collapse as Scales gives his last breath, and Sintel runs for the entrance.
After mourning over the friend she killed, Sintel leaves, heartbroken. Scales' baby, having nowhere else to go, follows her.