Canadian indie film distributor Mongrel Media launching subscription streamer

·2 min read

TORONTO — Canadian independent film distributor Mongrel Media is launching its own subscription streaming service.

The company says Mongrel Home Cinema will debut Friday in partnership with New York-based Magnolia Pictures and will be available for Canadian audiences only.

The service will offer a curated collection of films from both companies' catalogues, adding 10 titles on the first Tuesday of every month.

Subscriptions are available through MongrelHomeCinema.com or the Android or iOS app for $6.99 monthly or $69.99 annually.

Mongrel says the service is meant to help cinema lovers find the films they want and make them "feel as if they are entering a boutique rather than a big-box store."

The collection includes the rodeo cowboy drama "The Rider" film from Oscar-winning "Nomadland" director Chloe Zhao, which will hit the service May 4.

Other titles set for the service include Richard Linklater's coming-of-age tale "Boyhood," Damien Chazelle's jazz drummer drama "Whiplash" and Jacques Audiard's prison crime film "A Prophet."

Canadian films include Sarah Polley's romantic comedy-drama "Take This Waltz" and John Crowley's 1950s Irish immigrant story "Brooklyn."

The new service comes as many movie theatres remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and distributors and media companies increasingly turn to video-on-demand services and streamers to get titles out and capitalize on the at-home audience.

Mongrel Media, the exclusive distributor of Sony Pictures Classics films in Canada since 2001, has thousands of titles and bills itself as a brand with "a discerning taste" and long-lasting relationships with filmmakers and others in the industry.

A publicist said Monday that Mongrel already has Canadian rights to many Magnolia titles and "thought this was a natural partnership, since the two distributors have compatible tastes in film."

The publicist says financial arrangements of the deal are private.

The slate of critically heralded arthouse fare puts Mongrel Home Cinema in the vein of indie and specialty streamers The Criterion Channel, available in Canada for $10.99/month, and Mubi, available for $4.99/month.

It also follows in the footsteps of streamers IFC Films Unlimited, which draws titles from its three distribution labels, and OVID.tv, which offers films from several indie film distributors in the United States.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 26, 2021.

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press