If you’re an avid fan of the Australian cinema, you’ll know that finding films to watch are limited, depending on the era. Modern Australian films are easy to come by at your local JB Hi-Fi, and you can easily pick up a bargain or two through distributors such as Umbrella Entertainment, or rent stream through OzFlix – where the profits are split 50-50 with the service and the owner of the film. But, if you are on a budget, I have an option for you.
The honourable mention is SBS On Demand – SBS TV’s streaming-on-demand service. It’s free and instantaneous, but the library is limited, and by our experience, some movies last a couple of months on display before expiry. You can sign up for free, and there are commercials that appear, but they are not frequent.
The best option when you don’t have the coin is through the streaming-on-demand service Kanopy. Originally starting out in Perth in 2008 to provide universities with instantaneous video for students, the service made its way to U.S. libraries and over time, Australian libraries picked up on it. Created by Olivia Humphrey who has extensive experience of the Australia film industry, Kanopy tries to provide left-of-field films – not quite the blockbuster, but enough to acknowledge that it’s a well-known film.
At the time of writing, Kanopy was supplying 176 Australian films. Though the rest of their library has thousands of films, from comedies and dramas, documentaries and educational resources from international and world cinema.
How do you get access? Check with your local library or check the listing here. If it’s available, sign up and start clicking. Depending on the agreement with Kanopy and your library, you may be limited to a certain amount of borrows per month. For our access, we used the Gold Coast Library, which gives us 10 ‘borrows’ per month. After you select your film, you have 3 days to borrow, and 48 hours to watch it. Once you view at least 30 seconds of the video, it will count as a credit.
The quality is acceptable, averaging around 720 resolution. You can watch it in full screen, create a playlist and leave comments. I noticed a couple of movies were squashed in the wrong ratio, like Kokoda and They’re A Weird Mob, sitting in 4:3 when they are meant to be 16:9.
Kanopy is accessible through PC, MAC, iPhone, Android, Apple TV, Chromecast and a lot more. By the way, if you’re wondering who is paying for the access, Kanopy charges a yearly fee to your library, so you don’t pay for it (technically we all end up paying for it through our taxes etc). The resource is there, so use it!
Disclaimer: We wrote this on our own accord.