About Cinemata

Cinemata highlights essential yet underheard stories, increasing filmmakers’ reach, engagement, and impact, helping audiences discover thought-provoking videos. 

What is Cinemata?

Cinemata is a video platform for social issue films about the Asia-Pacific. With over 6,000 user-contributed films from more than 30 countries, Cinemata aims to bring to the forefront critical but often overlooked narratives about pressing issues in the region, such as climate change, conflict, freedom of speech, gender and sexuality, food security, and more.

Filmmakers and contributors are encouraged to open an account on Cinemata and upload their films of any genre at any time, provided they adhere to our Editorial Policy. Cinemata works similarly to modern video platforms, offering a wide array of features that cater to diverse user needs, all for free:

  • Upload films in various codecs, including h264, h265, and mkv, with added compatibility for professional formats like Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD. This extensive compatibility caters to a wide spectrum of video content and creative preferences, making Cinemata ideal for sharing and archiving films. (Download of content may only be available if authorised by the owner.)
  • Download videos in multiple transcoding dimensions, ranging from 240p to 1080p, and across various profiles like h264, h265, or vp9, ensuring compatibility with different devices.
  • Save videos in customized playlists, enhancing the ease of sharing and accessibility for users, while also facilitating collaborative viewing and film screenings.
  • Embed video links to other sites, expanding the reach and impact of your content.

Trusted Users get more features such as a wider array of publishing options, efficient uploads, AI transcription, English translation, and password-protection of content. Learn more below.

With a team of curators, Cinemata promotes collaboration among filmmakers, advocacy groups, human rights defenders, educators, and audiences through various initiatives such as film screenings, archiving, curation, outreach, and promotion.

Why "Cinemata"?

“Cinemata” comes from the combination of “cine”, which means “motion picture”, and “mata”, which means “eye” in several regional languages: 

  • In Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Indonesia, and Filipino, the word for “eye” is “mata”
  • In Tetum (East Timor), the word for “eye” is “matan”
  • In Vietnamese, the word for “eye” is “mắt” 
  • In Thai and Lao, the word for “eye” is “ta” 

“Cinemata” represents our focus on highlighting Asia-Pacific perspectives and connecting issues, films, and filmmakers in the region.

Who holds the rights to the videos uploaded on Cinemata?

The rights to the videos uploaded on Cinemata remain with the creators, preserving their ownership. It is essential to clarify that Cinemata does not claim ownership of the user-contributed films.

Cinemata is also committed to open sharing through Creative Commons licensing, allowing filmmakers to decide whether their content is accessible for non-profit or commercial use. When you upload your content, you can select a Creative Commons license that aligns with your intentions.

While many videos on Cinemata are shared under Creative Commons licensing, some may also be distributed with the "All Rights Reserved'' license. This indicates that the filmmakers retain full copyright and ownership of their content, limiting its usage to what is explicitly permitted by the copyright holder.

These approaches ensure that both open and more regulated licenses are accommodated, catering to a wide range of content creators' preferences.

For viewers, the specific license information for each video is conveniently provided at the bottom of the video page, ensuring transparency and clarity. Learn more about our open content policy and options here.

What is the role of the Cinemata curatorial team?

Cinemata extends beyond the conventional scope of a video platform, driven by a dedicated team of curators committed to cultivating a diverse and engaged community of filmmakers and audiences. The efforts of the Cinemata curatorial team include:

  • Featured Films: The Cinemata team weekly features films from videos publicly uploaded by users, promoting them across Cinemata's social media channels and newsletters while giving the films prominent visibility on the platform's front page. The team enriches the content with Asia-Pacific context by providing timely information to emphasize the critical issues addressed in the films. Discover Cinemata curators’ featured films here.
  • Promoting films and programs through targeted outreach: The Cinemata team actively promotes pertinent social issue films and programs by proactively reaching out to and collaborating with filmmakers, advocacy groups, human rights defenders, and educators. This approach encourages collaborative efforts through various film initiatives and fosters solidarity around critical social issues in the region.
  • Facilitating online and onsite film screenings: The Cinemata team facilitates both online and onsite film screenings, creating opportunities for filmmakers and audiences to engage in meaningful discussions and deepen their understanding of crucial social issues. This initiative also encourages them to share their knowledge with peers and communities through post-screening discussions, amplifying the impact of the content.
  • Curating film collections and playlists about relevant social issues in the region: The Cinemata team curates film collections and playlists, thoughtfully selecting films that address pressing social issues and offer not only thought-provoking content but also essential context and relevance to the Asia-Pacific region. In doing so, Cinemata provides valuable resources to the community while promoting awareness of critical concerns and essential causes.

Content curation is accessible to all Cinemata account holders through the Playlist Feature:

The playlist feature allows users to organize community screenings, create tailored educational experiences within classrooms, and engage audiences in diverse learning environments.

Whether curating their own films or creating a playlist of publicly available videos from other users on the platform, this feature provides the flexibility to build and share customized playlists, enhancing the viewing experience and enabling seamless sharing of content.

Learn how to create playlists on Cinemata with this step-by-step tutorial.

Who makes up Cinemata's audience?

Cinemata's diverse audience encompasses a wide range of individuals and groups who share a common interest in socially impactful content.

This includes filmmakers and video collectives seeking a platform to showcase their work, educators, researchers, looking for thought-provoking material and valuable resources for educational purposes, human rights and environmental advocates and activists dedicated to raising awareness on critical issues, as well as film festivals, film curators, and film initiatives seeking to showcase new content that are relevant to their causes. Additionally, civil society and nonprofit organisations utilise Cinemata to disseminate their messages and promote their causes to a broader audience.

Check out the Cinemata Partners Page to learn more about our growing community.

What are the advantages of becoming a Cinemata Trusted User?

Trusted Users are not just regular account holders. They play a crucial role in upholding the platform's vision, which revolves around social issue films centred on the Asia-Pacific region. These users deeply understand the platform's core focus and are granted a special privilege - the ability to publish their videos to the public without requiring review.

Trusted User accounts come with unique advantages:

  • Tailored Publishing Options:
    • Private - provides exclusive viewing for the owner, ideal for small screenings or advocacy groups aiming to screen censored films while ensuring content privacy and minimizing risks.
    • Unlisted - hides the video from public listings on Cinemata but offers a shareable URL, providing exclusivity while allowing easy access for a specific audience.
    • Public - ensures their videos feature prominently on the platform's front page and listings. All videos on Cinemata's front page are under this publishing option.
  • Efficient Video Uploading: Trusted Users can upload ten videos simultaneously, providing a convenient way for film programmers, community media producers, and educational institutions to showcase multiple videos with ease on Cinemata.
  • The Power of AI Speech Recognition and English Translation: Since June 2023, Cinemata has integrated Whisper, a speech recognition technology from the Open AI Foundation. With this feature, Trusted Users can transcribe and translate their videos to auto-generate subtitles in the local language or in English, making them more accessible to a broader audience.
  • Password Protection: This feature allows Trusted Users to control access to their videos, ensuring privacy and selective viewership. This is beneficial for targeted sharing, private screenings, or educational purposes.

Becoming a Cinemata Trusted User is an excellent opportunity for social issue filmmakers, film programmers, community media outfits, and advocacy groups who wish to publish their works effortlessly.

Trusted User access is free! Contact Cinemata's curatorial team at contact@cinemata.org to become one.

Explore the advantages of the Cinemata Trusted Users accounts here.

How does Cinemata provide its platform and services free of charge?

Cinemata provides its platform and services for free due to public funding, which allows us to continue our advocacy in highlighting underrepresented voices and narratives, extending the reach and impact of our content to a global audience, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

To support Cinemata and contribute to our advocacy, you can visit our Donate page for more information on how to get involved.

What does free, open, and secure platform mean?

Our commitment to open and secure technology ensures that your privacy and security are respected whenever you use our ad-free platform.

Cinemata is developed and managed by EngageMedia, a nonprofit that promotes digital rights, open and secure technology, and and video for change.

Developed by WordGames in partnership with EngageMedia, Cinemata is built on MediaCMS, “a modern, fully-featured open source video and media CMS”.

Cinemata is the result of the redevelopment of EngageMedia’s previous video site, which once hosted the videos in Cinemata today. This previous site was based on Plumi, an open source “video-sharing content management system based on Plone and produced by EngageMedia in collaboration with Unweb.me”.

If you’re interested in Cinemata’s source code, check out MediaCMS on GitHub. You can also read our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

What upcoming features can users expect from Cinemata?

As Cinemata continuously evolves to meet the needs of its users, exciting upcoming features are set to enhance the platform's functionality and user experience.

  • Livestreaming: This upcoming feature will enable users to broadcast and engage with audiences in real time, expanding the platform's purpose beyond pre-recorded content. Whether it's hosting live discussions, premiering films, or connecting with a wider audience.

How to connect and collaborate with Cinemata?

Cinemata welcomes collaboration opportunities with filmmakers, advocacy groups, educational institutions, and film festivals for both online and onsite film screenings. Our commitment extends to collaborating on film curations, creating playlists, and engaging in various video-for-change related activities.

If you share our passion for video for change and wish to collaborate, please reach out to the Cinemata curatorial team at contact@cinemata.org.