Bored of Netflix? Independent Film Festivals to Watch from Home

We’ve pulled together a list of film festivals you can watch from home. Whether you’re in the mood for the latest in contemporary Korean film or you fancy an insightful documentary on LGBTQ+ Britain, these movie marathons will keep you entertained.

We've all been there. You've scoured the annals of NOWTV, raided the archives of Amazon Prime and you're just one glass of wine away from throwing in the towel and plunging yourself into yet another Emily in Paris binge. Bored of scrolling through Netflix? Allow us to help you out. We've pulled together a list of film festivals you can watch from home. Whether you're in the mood for the latest in contemporary Korean film or you fancy an insightful documentary on LGBTQ+ Britain, these film festivals have got you covered.

Five film festivals to watch from home (for those bored of scrolling through Netflix)

BFI Flare

On Demand

Every year, BFI Flare pulls together the best in LGBTQ+ storytelling from directors across the UK and beyond. While the festival typically takes place in March, this year the entire schedule is available to view online through BFI Player, the British Film Institute's online streaming service. Plenty of films are available without charge, though you'll have to subscribe to watch the most highly sought-after content. New subscribers get their first 14 days free and it costs £4.99 per month thereafter.

SXSW Festival

On Demand

South by Southwest is one of the most trendsetting film festivals in the world; just one screening here can launch the career of an aspiring filmmaker into the cinematic stratosphere. This year, it has partnered with Mailchimp to digitalise its short-film offering. Don't be fooled by the simple, Y2K-style interface; these bite-sized films are seriously meaty. All of the short films listed are free to watch. Check South by Southwest's main website for feature-length films.

London Korean Film Festival

29 October – 12 November

Over the past decade, Korean culture has percolated its way into the mainstream, with K-Pop stars such as BTS selling out stadiums, DJs like Peggy Gou filling dancefloors and films including Bong Joon-ho's Parasite blitzing the box office. If Korean culture's your jam, it's time to tune in to the London Korean Film Festival. Various contemporary films can be rented for a nominal fee with some of the more classic options available for free. Late to the party? Stream full-length films via the Korean Film Archive YouTube channel. Alternatively, London Korean Film Festival is screening Happy Life and Ashfall in cinemas when they reopen this December.

Aesthetica Short Film Festival

3 – 30 November

Around this time every year, Aesthetica Short Film Festival rocks the crumbly, medieval walls of York. It's a biggie in the film calendar, attracting spokespeople from some of the UK's most exciting film studios and presenting a broad range of content covering everything from fashion film to humanitarian crises to virtual-reality experiments. This year you can sit in on its Virtual Festival. For £25 you can get access to the entire schedule for 24 hours. Pay £50 and you'll have access throughout November.

Films Across Borders

October – December

This festival of feature documentaries and educational films is co-presented by American University and various cultural embassies, arts institutions and environmental groups from around the world. Titled Stories of Resilience and Hope, this year's edit is a harbinger of optimism for the future. Not only is there a library of gripping films available to watch (subject to geographic restrictions), but viewers can sit in on a host of panel discussions with directors and film buffs too.

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