25 JanFive hassle-free streaming film and video websites.

I have a soft spot in my heart for independent film-makers.  I’ve worked on big budget Hollywood shows and no-budget indie shows.  There’s nothing Hollywood can offer that compares with the satisfaction (or is it relief?) that comes from getting that final shot in the can in time for the director to get back to his job at the health food store before he gets sacked for taking excessive sick days.  While people work on Hollywood movies for a variety of reasons, nobody works on an indie film unless they have a passionate love for movies.

Distribution has always been a dismal landscape for the indie film-maker.  While amazing leaps forward in video technology and communication potentially allow just about anybody to make a movie these days, a handful of distributors still maintain a stranglehold on what gets shown in theatres.  This ensures that almost all of it is predictable, soulless, formulaic Hollywood crap that navigates through a hostile maze of focus groups and accountants with delusions of grandeur before anyone ever hears of its existence.

Using the internet, indie film-makers could potentially bypass the corporate distribution bottleneck altogether in order to reach a significant audience.  On the other hand, films are far more costly to produce than music, novels or games.  Even if the crew is willing to work for nothing, the bills add up.  Between location rental, transportation, costumes, make-up, props, proprietary editing and mastering  software, equipment rental and fodder for the crew,  making a decent movie will never be something introverted misfits can do in the privacy of their parents’ basements, investing nothing but time.  Because they have spent a lot of money getting their product in the can, indie filmmakers are highly motivated to do whatever is necessary to recoup their costs.  They are less inclined to make their work available for free and quicker to sell out to mainstream distributors than indie writers, musicians and developers.  I would have loved to list more indie film websites, but as far as I can see, there just aren’t that many out there.

Indie Movies Online
 streams indie movies for free.  There’s no catch.  They have obtained a proper, legal license to stream every film you will find on their website.

Vodo uses P2P technology to share and promote one free indie movie per month.  Downloaders are offered an opportunity to sponsor Vodo films for various incentives, like film credits or soundtrack music.  You will need to install a P2P client (such as BitTorrent) to access these films.  For P2P noobs, you will want to grab PeerBlock while you’re at it to help filter out government and mainstream media IPs – they are out to get you whether the files you are legally accessing violate copyright or not.

Free Documentaries.  I have been watching fantastic freedocumentaries.org since its inception.  No fuss, no muss, no fees, no subscriptions, no ads; nothing but streaming access to hundreds of great documentaries for free.  I adore this site.  Watch the BBC’s Century of the Self series to find out why.

TED Talks hosts 900 streaming videos from their two annual conferences.  TED conferences bring together “the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less).”  The video and sound quality is excellent and the content is free.

RSA Animate has very cool graphic white board illustrations of excellent lectures that challenge the way we think.  I can’t get enough of those things.

Wreckamovie has no content, but it is kind of cool.  I linked it here because it takes a revolutionary approach to the entire concept of film-making.  An offshoot of a successful cloud project called Star Wreck: In the Pirkenning, wreckamovie has created a global, cloud-based film-making community.  Members combine their expertise and resources to collaborate on high quality indie film projects.  Wreckamovie has created a communication hub for these projects and follows them through from start to finish.

Happy watching!

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