5 Online Film Festivals To Attend

With streaming technology ever advancing and a need for film festivals to adapt in the current world climate, there has been an explosion in festivals taking place either online or in hybrid forms in the past year. Below is a selection of five festivals that you can attend from your home and what to expect.

ReelAbilities Film Festival (May 18-31)

Just getting underway now, ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto showcases Canadian and International shorts, features, and documentaries about Deaf and disability cultures. Among the films featured is the moving British autism documentary The Reason I Jump, which is being released in the UK in June. Kyrill Mikhanovsky’s comedy Give Me Liberty opens the festival.

Sheffield Doc Fest (June 4-13)

Britain’s biggest documentary festival has a strong online component this year, although for those who want to get their documentary fix in person, five premiere screenings will play in up to 16 partner cinemas in cities around the UK. The festival itself features 55 world premieres from around the world, including the first instalment of Steve McQueen’s new BBC series, Uprising – co-directed with James Rogan.

Tribeca Film Festival (June 9-20)

An increasingly important pitstop in the film festival calendar, New York’s indie festival usually runs in late April, but has been moved this year due to the pandemic in the hope of having some physical premieres. There are plenty of online screenings in the ‘Tribeca At Home’ strand, including intriguing documentary Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story and Oscar nominee Vanessa Kirby’s latest drama Italian Studies.

Thessaloniki Documentary Festival (June 24 – July 4)

Last year, this prestigious documentary festival from Greece went online, and this year, it will offer a hybrid version. The 2021 edition includes a new strand devoted to podcasts, featuring online workshops for those who want to work with professionally with podcasts. As you might expect, there’s a strong local flavour with 72 short and feature-length Greek docs among the line-up.

TransScreen 2021 (May 13 – May 27)

Amsterdam’s Transgender Film Festival is in full swing right now, featuring a mixture of online panels, workshops, Insta Live Sessions (in Dutch and English) and screeningsincluding Queer Japan, a fascinating and eye-opening celebration of LGBTQ+ culture in modern-day Japan.

Words: James Mottram