What to expect when Sundance Now launches in Australia

Sundance Now, a streaming platform specialising in independent cinema is coming to Australia

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Sundance Now

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Tired of watching blockbuster movies featuring superheroes and alien invasions? Sundance Now provides a great alternative to mainstream entertainment. The streaming service prides itself on offering subscribers access to independent flicks and TV series that are hard to find anywhere else, with a focus on festival hits and some original programming.

In other words, it’s the perfect platform for those who like to discover hidden gems and tune in for shows or movies not everyone is watching.

What is Sundance Now?

Owned by AMC Networks, Sundance Now takes its name from the famed Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the United States. The service launched in the US back in 2014, aiming to bring the festival’s spirit to the home viewer. Besides independent movies, it began offering TV shows and documentaries as well, catering to a wider audience. On the same note, the service entered the original programming game, striving to develop series and films that would appeal to lovers of independent cinema.

Currently, Sundance Now is available in the US, Canada and Ireland.

When will Sundance Now launch in Australia?

Sundance Now was originally slated for launch in Australia by the end of 2018, but that time has come and gone without so much as an update from AMC. Currently, it's unclear when or even if Sundance Now will open up its library to Aussie movie buffs.

How much will Sundance Now cost?

In the United States, Sundance Now costs US$6.99/month or US$59.99 for a yearly membership. In Canada and Ireland, the price is adjusted to reflect local currency. Hence, we expect the monthly fee to remain the same for Australia as well.

If the price stays the same, that would make Sundance Now a tad more affordable than Netflix, Stan or Foxtel Now – which would make sense, since the content is more niche. The platform offers a seven-day free trial, so Aussie users will likely be able to test-drive it and browse the library for free to decide if it’s worth the investment.

What content will be available to watch on Sundance Now?

Sundance Now’s library is pretty diverse, ranging from acclaimed independent films to provocative documentaries and binge-worthy series. However, it’s possible than not all titles from the US library will be available in Australia due to licensing arrangements. We’ll just have to wait and see.

To give you a taste of what’s in store, though, Sundance Now’s exclusive series include titles like Killing for Love, One Deadly Weekend in America, Motherland and The Swell. The TV show offering is limited, due to the platform’s focus on films and documentaries, but there are several original productions that are worth the binge.

Riviera, for instance, is an addictive show starring Julia Stiles as a young widow who sets out to investigate the circumstances surrounding her husband’s mysterious death. This Close follows two deaf friends who rely on each other to navigate life, while The Bureau is an explosive French-language series centring on a kidnapped special agent. As you can see, your choices may be limited, but they cater to a wide range of tastes.

As far as documentaries are concerned, you won’t run out of content to watch anytime soon. You can browse by categories, including Art & Culture, Biography, Travel & Adventure, or Sports. Popular titles include Taxi to the Dark Side, an investigation into the reckless abuse of power by the Bush Administration; Cousin Bobby, focusing on a minister who fights tirelessly to improve the lives of people of colour; and Gaza Surf Club, about amateur surfers in the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

Finally, there are hundreds of films available on the platform, ranging from festival darlings to classics. The titles that caught our eye include Amour, Heathers, Frances Ha, Tideland, Aferim!, Dogtooth, Boyhood and Hello I Must Be Going. However, plenty more are available on Sundance Now, enough to last you for a few movie marathons at least. A great thing about the service is that it offers Collections, making it easy for users to discover new series, movies or documentaries. With names like Provocative Thinkers or Justice for All, these collections are a good place to start if you’re new to the world of independent cinema. You can also browse Collections to see what the likes of Susan Sarandon and Danny Glover recommend you stream on Sundance Now.

How does Sundance Now compare?

If you're looking for something to watch until Sundance Now’s Australia launch, you’ll be happy to know that each streaming service on the market offers a small selection of indie titles. We've rounded up all the independent films on Netflix into one convenient list, if you want to check those out. Alternatively, Foxtel Now offers cult classics like The Blair Witch Project, The Boat That Rocked, Little Miss Sunshine and The Virgin Suicides, among others.

Over on Stan, you can stream The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Blue Velvet or Clerks. Finally, Amazon Prime Video offers titles like Dazed and Confused and Night of the Living Dead.

As you can see, there’s enough to get you started. But if you’re planning to expand your knowledge of independent movies, you’ll have to check out what Sundance Now has in store. Hopefully, the wait won’t be excruciating.

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