There’s an uncomfortable silence in Australian cinema. Despite boundless creative talent and energy, our local film industry remains in a rut, drowning in funding and distribution woes.
“To be a film maker you need to make films. You need to have these opportunities for people to hone their craft and develop their own voices,” explains Ben Maher, founder of a new streaming platform, Stream of Films, which he hopes will reinvigorate our beleaguered film industry by harnessing the community’s passion for independent films.
In its final stretch of a Pozible crowdfunding campaign, Stream of Films is looking to charter new territory in the way we distribute, access and support local and independent films. With a video-on-demand service that delivers hard-to-find independent films from around the world, 10 per cent from every ‘rental’ will be re-invested into a new crop of Australian filmmakers.
“I really like this idea of ‘cyclicality’: people watch films online and in the process of watching they’re supporting new films being made,” says Maher.
The reality is, with only a fleeting profile at small releases in art-house cinemas and film festivals, Australian films are stifled in a global studio system of theatrical releases, syndication and box office ratings that inevitably sideline most independent films.
“It’s really important for filmmakers, storytellers and all creative people really, to have a sense of freedom with their work. Independent film gives people the opportunity to take risks –I think that’s really healthy for the evolution of filmmaking and storytelling.”
Initiatives like Stream of Films won’t simply fix a complicated problem, but might be a start to encourage production of more local films like The Rocket and Satellite Boy, and also to allow a platform for ongoing viewing so they don’t disappear.
With the prospect of launching in the first half of 2014, Stream of Films is certainly an ambitious project, but a timely wild card in the vigorous pursuit of keeping our Australian film culture strong.
For more information, view the Pozible page here.