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mai 08, 2018
Innovation and technology

Brazilian student creates "local Netflix” – an open and collaborative streaming platform

Libreflix, a Brazilian free-to-use streaming service, is helping to revolutionize the way people access independent cinema and television across the country. The platform works on a collaborative basis, whereby any filmmaker may submit their own works to be made available for free streaming by all users, providing they do not infringe on any copyright laws.
The idea was designed by Guilmour Rossi, a computer engineering and IT student at the Federal Technological University of Paraná (UTFPR) in the city of Curitiba. "The project follows the philosophy of free software," explains Rossi. “I created Libreflix by using tools created by others, which is why I can say it was made by everyone."
Currently, the Libreflix library consists of a wide variety of titles, from feature and short films to documentaries and series. Among the most popular entries made available for free are Fritz Lang’s 1927 masterpiece "Metropolis" and dystopian drama series “3%”, the first Netflix original series to be produced in Portuguese.
While Libreflix does not require users to register before watching films, in its first six months of operation the platform already has 12,000 members. "The number of users who visited the site in its first six months was almost 200,000, but only 40% of these people returned," said Rossi. “Our task now is to establish a closer relationship with the people who use the platform so that, even after the initial enthusiasm, they return whenever they are looking for some audiovisual production to watch."
Libreflix is not alone in the realm of streaming initiatives in Brazil, several others have popped up across the country – some free, some paid – focused on showcasing independent cinema.
For instance, Spcine Play, backed by the city government of São Paulo, production company O2 Filmes and digital solutions laboratory Hacklab, was inaugurated at the end of 2017 and is still in its beta phase. The service is dedicated to streaming Brazilian films and currently has ten titles in its library, including works from award-winning director Anna Muylaert and Alê Abreu's “Boy and the World”, which was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the 2016 Academy Awards. Each film costs the user BRL 3.90 to stream and the service attracted almost 2,000 subscriptions in its first two months.
After its experimental phase, Spcine Play plans to expand its catalogue. “We’re currently working with recent films, ones which have been released in the last five years, but historic Brazilian films are also on our radar," said Spcine’s operations manager Thiago Taboada.