Warsaw, Poland – A new Catholic streaming service has been launched in Poland. Modelled on Netflix and other VOD and streaming platforms, “Katoflix” is aimed at “viewers who are interested in Christian and religious topics”.
The platform’s motto, “Vide Opera Dei”, meaning “See the Works of God” in Latin, abbreviates to VOD, which also stands for video on demand.
With films and series on topics such as faith, the meaning of life and the lives of popular Saints, the service aims to “create a space that, using the power of film, will lead to God”.
“We are looking for movies that could interest you, inspire, reflect, make you change your life… or make you smile. We want to offer you products that you can show your children without fear, recommend to friends or give to someone who is experiencing difficult moments in their life”, says the platform on its website.
While free content will also be available, viewers will have to pay for access to each title, in contrast to conventional streaming services where users pay a monthly fee. Fees go up to 11 zloty (€2.50).
“Confessions of a Prodigal Son”, which is a modern retelling of the Prodigal Son story, and “Unplanned”, an anti-abortion film based on the memoir of activist Abby Johnson, are among the US titles available on the platform.
Released in 2019 in the United States by evangelical Christian production and distribution house Pure Flix, “Unplanned” faced strong criticism over the uncritical and inaccurate portrayal of events, with several outlets describing the film as “propaganda”. The film nevertheless proved to be popular in Polish cinemas last year, with almost 400,000 viewers going to see it, according to Polskie Radio.
With 90% of Poles declaring themselves to be Roman Catholic, Poland is arguably one of the most Catholic countries in the world with the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party identifying strongly with the church and its principals. Last year, party leader Jarosław Kaczyński even went as far as declaring that “everyone must accept Christianity” and arguing that questioning the Catholic Church was unpatriotic.
There are however many different ways to be Catholic in Poland, with young activists embodied by the magazine Kontakt identifying themselves as “Catholic left-wing and arguing that “the government’s positions are increasingly at odds with those of Pope Francis”.
In 2018, Wojciech Smarzowski’s lastest movie Kler sparked controversy and a nation-wide debate that has divided the staunchly Catholic nation in two, apparently irreconcilable camps.