Kanopy streaming service adds more than 30,000 free films to library database

Looking for new content to stream during that weeklong Thanksgiving break that is coming up? Try Kanopy, an online streaming platform just added to the University of Miami Libraries databases that gives students, professors and library visitors access to thousands of films from around the world. And unlike Netflix or Hulu, Kanopy is free for anyone with a university login.

UM joins Harvard, University of Texas, Penn State University, UC San Diego and the University of Washington, which also use Kanopy.

“There are many websites where you can watch films,” said UM professor, award-winning photojournalist and documentary filmmaker Jim Virga, who worked on getting Kanopy added to the university library. “However, Kanopy has collections of the greatest films of all times in really a good quality. I really appreciate the library getting it; it’s a fantastic resource for any film lover.”

Kanopy allows students to access movies from over 800 producers, including The Criterion Collection, Flicker Alley, Shout Factory, The Great Courses, California Newsreel, BBC and PBS, as well as films from thousands of independent filmmakers.

Junior film student Kristion Matas said this new service is more than just a platform for binge-watching – Kanopy is great for film education.

“I think it is really amazing that UM has this new program,” Matas said. “At the heart of every art you always have to look back at the history and what came before you.”

The extensive library includes classic films, from silent-era shorts to groundbreaking international features, and all can be streamed on a computer, through a Roku device, iOS and Android phone apps and soon, on Apple TV.

“I feel this is going to give the students a great opportunity to look at what has been done and make better projects in the future,” Matas said.

Films can be shown in classes, clubs and film nights at the residential colleges, too.

“I would see it as a new alternative to the other streaming services we always watch,” said David Heller, a freshman student majoring in finance. “I’m glad that the university is giving us a new opportunity to explore and find new interests.”

Kanopy’s motto is “thoughtful entertainment” – seeking to provide library patrons with access to films of unique social and cultural value. Many of these films are difficult or impossible to access elsewhere.

Kanopy is available at kanopystreaming.com and is also on UM Libraries’ list of databases, which can be found at library.miami.edu.