Urban Cinefile
"I did two period pieces so it was like, 'When are you going to get out of the corsets?' and I was thinking 'I just got into them!' "  -actress Frances O'Connor on her first international roles
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Sunday July 12, 2020 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



The partnership of international movie download service MUBI and Sony’s Playstation 3 arrives in Australia this month to deliver independent movies downloaded to the TV via the gaming console. This is a game changer for Australian filmmakers and film audiences alike. Andrew L. Urban meets MUBI founder, Efe Çakarel.

Quite simply, making indie movies available via the internet on the TV screen not the computer, is a game changer because it puts internet-delivered movie viewing on the same familiar platform as consumers use for the bulk of their movie viewing. Every household has a TV set, and 1 million PS units are in the Australian marketplace, with 65% of them already connected to the internet. It also changes the social dynamics of viewing downloads, enabling viewers to share the experience, rather than face a computer screen alone.

"a major milestone"

This initiative is a major milestone in the much awaited convergence of internet and TV for everyday viewing, making its entry to Australia via movies – and a gaming console which is a fast growing entertainment centre – not just a gaming device. Especially important for Australian films, MUBI is making available a wide range of indie, art house and foreign language films; the films that are hardest to access for viewers and the hardest to get in front of audiences, as Australian filmmakers know only too well. (Not the big studio movies which are so readily available on free to air and subscription television – and some also post release on PS3 now.) 

The first question that everyone might ask Efe Çakarel (pronounced Chakarel) is how will the PS3 user market respond to art house/indie films? Aren’t they mostly young males? “PS users are not just hard core gamers,” he replies, “but overall entertainment enthusiasts. Playstation has built up its content offering in that area with streaming music video, digital TV (with applications such as Yahoo!7’s Plus 7 and ABCiView) studio films and games.” PS3 is also a high grade Blu-ray player.

But the biggest single factor, he says, is that the films on offer from MUBI “have to be very good. Even if the users don’t know the films, they’re good films so we’ll help create an appetite for good films beyond the studio product.”

"a movie specialist social network"

Alongside the movie menu, MUBI also offers forums for discussion and debate about the movies on the service, acting as a movie specialist social network.

MUBI’s reputation is built on delivering the best of independent, international and classic films representing the work of cinema legends such as Griffith, Chaplin, Tarkovsky, Bergman, Antonioni, and Godard, and exclusive content, including Agnès Varda's entire body of work.

At launch, PS3 users can access more than 500 films from around the world through MUBI’s ever-growing curated library of film, provided by partners including Celluloid Dreams, Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation and local partners that include Hopscotch Films and Umbrella Entertainment. MUBI opens up a whole list of quality cinema, including Fellini's Palme d'Or winner La Dolce Vita, and Pedro Almodovar's All About My Mother, along with new and old classics ranging from Suspiria to Antonioni's L'avventura and Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth.

In May 2010, Playstation launched its blockbuster movie download service, offering films from Hollywood studios. Sony Computer Entertainment won’t divulge download figures claiming it’s too early, but the company is enthusiastic about MUBI, and has spent some serious money launching it in Australia. The company was keen enough to get in early to book Efe Çakarel to launch the service in Australia – as distinct from Paris, London or somewhere else in the European Union, where the service has been running online since 2007. Now with PS3, the users will be able to move to their lounge rooms and watch high quality movies on demand, as they do when watching films on free to air or cable.

Rental rates are $6.25, shorts $1.75 (7 days) and you can also buy movies for around $25. Or for $19.95 per month (no minimum contract) users can rent an unlimited number of movies. (A few movies are also offered free.) MUBI shares all revenue 50-50 with the rights holders, and pays all the upfront costs of encoding, uploading and rights management, etc. All PS3 users need to do is download a free application. 

"a major step forward for lovers of independent, foreign and classic film"

Hengameh Panahi, President of Celluloid Dreams and MUBI Europe comments, "For rights-holders, this development couldn't be more exciting. MUBI's platform not only inspires more interest in and awareness of international cinema, but most importantly of all it provides easy audience access to a broad range of great films." 

Efe Çakarel sums up, “Bringing MUBI to TV screens via the PS3 is a major step forward for lovers of independent, foreign and classic film – people who want to put the excitement and sense of adventure back into their home viewing. It is amazing how wide a community of people that covers and how diverse their interests are.”

MUBI launch - Efe Çakarel, Michael Ephraim, Managing Director Sony Computer Entertainment Aus & NZ, Miranda Otto, Abe Forsythe

Published November 4, 2010

Email this article

MUBI founder, Efe Çakarel

MUBI for PS3 was launched on November 4, 2010 in Australia, leading the multi-national launch during the week in the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux, Nordic countries, New Zealand. More countries are set to follow.

Founded in 2007, MUBI is backed by Celluloid Dreams, The Criterion Collection and Costa Films, supported by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union, and is the exclusive partner of The World Cinema Foundation. MUBI is based in Palo Alto, New York, Paris, and London.

On November 20, 2010, the Mexican film Revolución will have its global world premiere on MUBI – free. Bringing together ten filmmakers, including Gael García Bernal, Amat Escalante, Gerardo Naranjo, Fernando Eimbcke and Carlos Reygadas, Revolución celebrates the centenary of the 1910 Mexican uprising with a compilation of ten short tales told by directors at the forefront of contemporary Mexican cinema.

© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020