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New streaming platform spotlights indie Australian content

There's a new player on the Australian streaming field.

Source: Brollie

Most streaming services are in a desperate race to find the next mainstream blockbuster, but an upcoming Australian platform is going in the opposite direction.

Australian cult classic independent films and shows will be the beating heart of Brollie, set to launch on November 23.

The platform will be supported by ads, but unlike similar offerings from the likes of Netflix, the service will be free.

Brollie will also feature international projects, hailing everywhere from South Korea to the US.

But Ari Harrison, general manager at Brollie’s parent company, film distributor Umbrella Entertainment, said the aim of the streaming platform was to make Australian content cool again – and accessible.

“We never had the desire in competing with Netflix, and Stan, and Amazon and Paramount,” he said.

“The idea of the platform itself started during COVID, essentially, when we could tell that there were so many people at home watching content, but [they] didn’t know how to find a lot of this classic Australian content that [Umbrella Entertainment] were representing.

“So this idea …

+ignited us to move forward and start developing the platform. And we wanted to make sure it was free.”

Among the hundreds of Australian indie gems to be included on the service will be 2014’s The Babadook, 1999’s Erskineville Kings and 1976’s Storm Boy.

Doing things differently

In addition to its library of classic independent productions, Brollie will set itself apart by offering special features; a staple of physical DVD releases that have largely been missing from streaming platforms.

“The idea behind including [special features] was because nobody else was including it at all,” Harrison said.

“And we knew that there was a great opportunity there for people to want that content … Not everybody has a DVD and Blu-ray player anymore, and the collector’s market is a pretty specific, targeted market.

“We wanted to make [special features] more available.”

Heather Ledger’s Two Hands may have been overshadowed by 10 Things I Hate About You in 1999, but now audiences will see a different side to the actor. Photo: Brollie

Brollie will also be launching a new podcast, Sunburnt Screens: The Australian Cinema Odyssey, on the same day as the streaming service.

Hosted by writer, comedian and filmmaker Alexei Toliopoulos, each episode, will feature interviews with Australian filmmakers such as The Tracker director Rolf de Heer and Little Women director Gillian Armstrong.

The streaming service will only be available in Australia and New Zealand at first, but is open to launching in more international markets in the future.

Unlike Netflix, which has been famously cagey about audience data, Harrison said Brollie has no reason to keep audience viewing data confidential.

Unwatched for 50 years

Users will only be asked to hand over their first name and email address, and the streaming platform’s catalogue of well-known and obscure independent films is expected to give a new level of visibility to many of the people behind the projects.

“Sometimes it’s been 30, 40, 50 years [since] anybody’s even seen a film or TV show since it first screened in a cinema or [aired] on TV,” Harrison said.

“So this gives another opportunity for [filmmakers and producers] to get their content back out there and perhaps reignite their career or … get some revenue back in their pocket from so long ago.”

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