Two of the metrics that we look at to see how well OVID is doing—to get a sense of whether we’re moving in the right direction, or have a chance of surviving—are Conversions and Churn. This information is generally closely held in the SVOD business. In fact, we are not aware of any other streaming service which has released this data.

A film programmer at Maysles Documentary Center and several film festivals including his own, Prismatic Ground, Inney Prakash has had the experience of turning his curatorial eye from in-person events to online programming reaching an international audience. During our conversation, he dives into his career path, a few of the films that have shaped his worldview, and the role of curation in social justice movements.

The scholar Paul Henley has published one of the best reviews of André Gide and Marc Allégret's film Travels in the Congo: "Travels in the Congo, first released in France in 1927 as Voyage au Congo, is without doubt the masterwork of French ethnographic cinema in Africa prior to World War II. And yet, in the literature on ethnographic film and the history of documentary cinema more generally, it has been strangely neglected. It does not feature, for example, in the extensive UNESCO catalog, Films ethnographiques de l’Afrique noire, edited by Jean Rouch and published in 1967. Although Rouch

On the occasion of the streaming release of two landmark Chinese independent films – Wen Hai and Zeng Jinyan’s Outcry and Whisper and Hu Bo‘s An Elephant Sitting Still – the good folks at Ovid asked me to share some thoughts. If you watch only two Chinese films this year, watch these two. I stand in awe of both films. Taken together, they form as deep, complex and varied a portrait as possible of contemporary China. Neither film should exist. Yet, they do. Beautifully. Miraculously. Brazenly. The producer and writer of Outcry and Whisper survived years of house arrest. The director o

As we enter the new year, it seems appropriate that I report on aspects of how OVID is doing. I also want to point you in the direction of two interesting articles which I think contextualize what OVID is all about. First, we’ve updated our searchable Master List of Films on OVID. We added about 30 titles over the past two months—we took a break over the holidays—so as of December 31, 2020, we are now at 982 titles. Of course we do continue to add more films every week. We have 18 titles lined up for January, and will be sharing each coming month’s schedule here on metafilm.

On OVID, we have two versions of Guy Debord’s classic film The Society of the Spectacle: the French original with commentary by Guy Debord himself, and one with an English voiceover. When we first received the restored film from Films du Losange, we noticed that Guy Debord’s French voiceover layered with English subtitles was overwhelming to viewers if they weren’t fluent in French. Luckily, Ed Halter and Thomas Beard of Light Industry, a venue for film and electronic art in Brooklyn, had produced a bootleg English copy with Paul Chan a few years ago and posted it online. With their per

Nancy Cooperstein Charney Who's Next? examines how the lives of Muslim-Americans have been affected in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks. In one way or another, all of them have been targeted by federal agencies, hate groups, and even former friends solely on the basis of their religious beliefs. This Hanukkah, the film encourages us all to choose knowledge over ignorance, take action to prevent hate speech, and to welcome strangers into our lives so that the challenges of marginalized co

According to the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture, Madeline Anderson (b. 1927) was the first African-American woman to have directed a documentary film. Hard as it is to believe—as the history of cinema goes back over 120 years—it was only in 1960 when Anderson directed her first film Integration Report 1.

Filmmaker Jethro Waters has a background in cinematography and an ear for music. He tackles the biopic of master photographer Burk Uzzle without ever making you feel like you’re doing homework. There is energy in his work and a true respect for his subject. Though it’s hard to witness how little America has progressed in terms of racial justice since Uzzle began working seven decades ago, the film vibrates with hope that good things might yet still come. We sat down over Zoom to discuss his film “F11 and Be There” and some of the influences that contributed to its creation.

In 1988, nearly a decade after leaving the US for France, renegade filmmaker Robert Kramer returns. “Back,” he emphasizes. Not “home.” To try to understand the contemporary United States, he decides to travel the entire length of Route 1, from the Canadian border to Key West, filming all the way for five months. ROUTE ONE/USA was shot more than 30 years ago, but it feels remarkably contemporary in its portrayal of many of the racial, social, and economic challenges America continues to face.

One of the founding principles of OVID is a commitment to openness and transparency. For any number of reasons we believe that it is high-time for the film and media industries to open the books and share with both our members (subscribers, customers, viewers) and our filmmaking, producing, and distribution partners, the real numbers and metrics and dollars and cents of the business. We’d be happy to enter into a discussion with our colleagues, distributors, and other VOD and SVOD services about this idea and why information such as that shown here is generally so closely held.

OVID is pleased to premiere and present exclusively in the United States, the restored version of the French New Wave’s classic omnibus film, Six in Paris (Paris vu par…). And taking advantage of a capability in our platform, OVID is able to present Six in Paris in both its original feature-length version, and as the six separate short films […]

I first learned about Madeline Anderson (b. 1927), primarily through her work on the public affairs news program Black Journal, when I was a graduate student conducting research on African-American cultural production. As I recall, her name was a footnote in an essay; there was not much information beyond a credit line. At the time, I was seeking to identify pioneering female filmmakers since the field of study is often so male-dominated. I was determined to find out if there were women working behind the camera as well. As my research expanded, I learned about Zora Neale Hurston’s anthropol

Jiayin Liu’s Oxhide (2005) is composed of 23 static shots, inside of a small, claustrophobic apartment in Beijing, China. Within each shot are only pieces of the apartment, along with only pieces of Liu, her mother and her father. She commits to a narrative refraction of an only child in a family of bag makers with a non-fictional rigor that eschews any kind of objective context for a Western spectator. Distinctions between the film’s events and Liu’s real life cannot be accounted for. Her presentation operates with biblical fervor, awash in every frame, are individual moments that are p

Mothers and daughters have incredibly complicated relationships but few have been so thoroughly dissected with a gaze simultaneously affectionate and unforgiving. The raw and beautiful nature of this fundamental relationship evolves and twists in Yang Mingming’s character-driven debut feature. Originally premiering in the prestigious Berlin Panorama in 2018, the ironically titled “Girls Always Happy” is directed, written and edited by Yang, who also stars.

The immersive, unforgiving documentaries of Wang Bing are often described in terms that would have their director as the Olympic marathoner of the contemporary cinema pantheon. Not only do his films appear monumental by virtue of their long running times, but Wang, even when his voice and image are effaced from his films, is no less present, evidently matching as best he can the intense physical demands of his subject’s environments, whether this be the toxic fumes of a smelting plant (the “Rust” section of West of the Tracks) or the everywhere-by-foot vertiginous slopes in Yunnan provin

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