The community has pushed the limits of the project by creating short films. So far there have been 5 projects in the last 8 years (http://www.blender.org/features/projects/). All of these have previously been funded by pre-purchasing DVDs of the movie along with assets. (These movies and assets were also released for free under a GPL license. )
Here we are in 2014, and it is time to push the limits of Blender again in order to make it better. The community is really going all out this time though. The scope has been expanded from a short to a feature length film. Previous projects were handled by a small team that was assembled from around the world in Amsterdam and they grinded on it for 6 months or so. This increase in size requires a different team structure and there will be full studios along with many many many volunteers from around the world participating. It sounds chaotic and epic.
Previously I mentioned that funding was originally handled by pre-selling DVDs. These days, disc based distribution is rather old school. That is gone and they are going to focus entirely on donations and cloud subscriptions. The levels start at 20€ to get early access to the film. 175€ will get your name in the credits or you can spread things out by subscribing to the Blender Cloud service. If you have really deep pockets, the levels go all the way up to 2500€.
I have participated in all the campaigns and consider this to be some of the most impressive open source software out there. The community is very enthusiastic about their project and these films show that. I have not regretted a single dollar being sent their way.
link : http://gooseberry.blender.org/