Ovid: Your New Nonfiction-Heavy Streaming Destination

Documentaries by Chantal Akerman, Ross McElwee, Jean Rouch, Bill Morrison, Marcel Ophuls, Wang Bing, Chris Marker, and more are now streaming on your new favorite subscription service.

chantal akerman by chantal akerman
Icarus Films

Nonfiction cinephiles, your $6.99 refuge has come. Officially launched this week, Ovid is the new destination for films that are largely unavailable on most other platforms. Love hard-hitting issue documentaries and international independent cinema? Ovid is the place for you and whatever your cinema niche may be.

Thanks to the good faith and collaboration of eight independent distribution companies (Bullfrog Films, Women Make Movies, Kimstim, Icarus Films, Distrib Films US, First Run Features, Grasshopper Film, The dGenerate Films Collection), more than 350 arthouse, documentary, international, and many, many under-appreciated films on the mainstream landscape will be available on the site with a subscription.

The front page of the streaming site alone is enticing. Categories are sorted by country, New York Times Critics Picks, Ovid exclusives, film festival favorites, and individual categories for focus on women, African directors, and Asian cinema.

As you dig into the site and explore titles, it becomes clear what the goal of this site is: to make accessible the films that may have been forgotten by many but are still remembered by some. That is who this site is for. Ovid is a platform sharing new and old films, with an excellent array of directors such as Heddy Honigmann, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Chantal Akerman, Patricio Guzmán, and Ross McElwee.

Some notable highlights include Capitalism: A Six-Part Series, directed by Ilan Ziv, meant to be an accessible look into the cogs of the capitalist machine. Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? directed and narrated by Travis Wilkerson, is an investigation into a hate-filled murder committed by the filmmaker’s great-grandfather. Another long-endeared film by two-time Palme d’Or winner Shohei Imamura is 1967’s A Man Vanishes, a look into the absurdly high amount of missing persons in Japan each year.

It is evident by the varied selection this new platform has to offer that it is not just any streaming site, but a haven for cinephiles who have been left behind.

The eight founding content partners are:

BULLFROG FILMS The leading U.S. publisher of independently produced documentaries on environmental and related social justice issues, in business for more than 45 years, it currently distributes over 750 titles.

THE DGENERATE FILMS COLLECTION dGenerate Films distributes contemporary independent film from mainland China to audiences worldwide. They are dedicated to procuring and promoting visionary content, fueled by transformative social change and digital innovation.

DISTRIB FILMS US An independent distributor of international feature films, Distrib Films US is known for its strong collection of French and Italian fiction feature films.

FIRST RUN FEATURES Founded in 1979 by a group of filmmakers to advance the distribution of independent film, First Run has been honored with a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art for its significant contributions.

GRASSHOPPER FILM A distribution company founded in 2015 by Ryan Krivoshey, dedicated to the release of independent, foreign, and documentary film.

ICARUS FILMS A leading distributor of documentary films in North America, with a collection exceeding 1000 titles. It recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.

KIMSTIM A distribution company dedicated to the release of exceptional independent, foreign, and documentary film.

WOMEN MAKE MOVIES Women Make Movies (WMM), a non-profit feminist social enterprise based in New York, is the world’s leading distributor of independent films by and about women.

Ovid is filling in the blanks left by most of the dominant streaming services that have seemingly turned their backs on lovers of cinema, going forward with investing their time and money on original content that does not really seem to end up paying off for them financially. By throwing their money into festivals and making content for the awards circuit, they have shied away from some of the nitty-gritty content they once had the capacity to stream. Feel lost no more.

New films will be added every two weeks, with a 10-part documentary series and 14 fiction feature films scheduled between now and April 5th, which is a great plus. There will always be something new (or old) to watch.

Ovid is currently only available in the US but will be available in Canada later this year.