I'm spending my morning reading about machinima--a topic and practice that fascinates me--and thought I'd just mention two resources to you that you might find interesting.
The first is MovieStorm, a free-to-download animation engine you can use to create movies. I've mucked around a little with this software in the past and lost a good many pleasant hours doing so.
The second is a game you play to generate your sets and actors and props for making machinima. The game is The Movies. You do have to buy it, but having used it in the past myself with teachers, I find it a marvellous resource to have, especially in classrooms where the internet connection is too dodgy to effectively use, say Second Life, to create machinima. Machinima.com has en entire channel devoted to The Movies machinima if you'd like to get a sense of what can be done with this game/animation software.