Film festival's go virtual to beat lockdown - Our top 5 picks

With countless big events postponed or cancelled including Cannes Film Festival in France, due to take place this week, film fans around the world will be longing for their festival fix. Fortunately, festival organisers have come to the rescue with a range of lockdown compliant versions to keep us entertained. Here are our Top 5 to get you started on your virtual festival journey…

1. Tribeca Enterprises and YouTube recently announced that over 20 film festivals from around will be joining forces to form “We Are One: A Global Film Festival”. Launching 29 May, the free 10-day streaming extravaganza will feature films curated by some of the world’s biggest film festivals including Berlin, Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, and Venice.

2. If you’re gutted at the thought of not being able to get your annual DOC|FEST fix in June, sheffdocfest.com provides some solace with a great list of films from previous editions that are available online. From Hail Satan? to Midnight Family, there’s lots of choice. We’re starting with the stunning Apollo 11 (streaming on Netflix) - a timely reminder of the incredible things that humanity can achieve when we work together.

3. The brilliant Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF) is currently curating a special programme of “Stay Home Shorts” available online. Up first is an 80-minute selection of nine films from previous editions of the festival. The whole programme is great, but if you watch just one make it The House of Small Cubes - a beautiful Japanese animation about memory, family, and home that’s heart-warming and melancholy in equal measure.

4. Birmingham’s Flatpack Festival, which normally takes place in May, is also pivoting to digital with their “Flatpack 2020: Home Entertainment Edition”. Currently running until 17 May, the special online festival brings Flatpack’s acclaimed, BAFTA-qualifying short film competition direct to your home, completely free. One title we’re planning to check out is A Sonic Pulse - a sensory experience following the ways in which Deaf people connect to electronic music.

5. Winning the prize for best lockdown themed pun by a country mile, the “My Darling Quarantine Short Film Festival”, curated by Talking Shorts, presents seven short films a week. They’ve just moved into Week 9 which runs until Sunday and features an eclectic mix of animation, sci-fi, and surrealist dystopia created by filmmakers from around the world.

This article first featured in the Sheffield Telegraph on 7 May 2020.

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