What to do if you want to escape the rabbit hole of Netflix
By Julie Rae Tucker, Head of Programs and Collection at The Art Gallery of Windsor
Tired of watching Netflix shows on a loop? There are other ways to stream great content for both adults and children, and most of it is available for free! Engaging with the platforms mentioned below is a great way to support creators directly, enjoy content that is both challenging and unique, and discover Canadian or international creators. I hope you enjoy this list for full family enjoyment and chill time.
For the kiddos:
The Ottawa International Animation Festival is the largest animation festival in North America, and they have provided a kids showcase of international films. You are going to love the short film and accompanying song “Be A Pain”, which teaches kids about the history of activism and to ‘be a pain’ for change. The film features Rosa Parks, Harvey Milk, and the kids of Parkland, among others.
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) also has a great playlist of films in both French and English. One of my favourite NFB films is How Dinosaurs Learned to Fly. In these difficult times, I wonder if humans will be smarter than those dinosaurs?
For adults and teens:
The Ninth Floor on NFB is a watershed moment of activism and racism at a Canadian University. This documentary tells the story of the Sir George Williams Riot from the students’ reflections years later. It makes you question if there has been much change since the 1960s.
VUCAVU is another Canadian platform that hosts virtual film festivals and has an extensive catalogue for rent. You will need to create a login and check back often because during the festival’s duration, the films are available for free. A short film worth renting is It Starts with a Whisper directed by Shelly Niro, and it is cheaper than a takeaway coffee.
Also, the Windsor-based Media City Film Festival will celebrate its 25th-anniversary edition in 2021. Their new online platform, THOUSANDSUNS, continues to add new films on a rolling basis. As the space grows, it will also act as an index, representing the thousands of filmmakers previously showcased by the Media City Film Festival.
The whole fam jam:
FAST HORSE is a short documentary directed by Alexandra Lazarowich on CBC Gem. It is a rare glimpse into the bareback relay race, and documents the experiences of riders from the Siksika Nation. Lazarochwich is a member of Cousin Collective, a nonprofit which works to support up-and-coming Indigenous filmmakers.
I am thankful to all of the cultural workers, artists, and makers who have continued to work through this time to provide amazing content through essays, recipes, books, films, memes, and more. This content has brought me through the anxiety, sleeplessness, and general feelings of unwellness and worry that this pandemic has brought to all of us in varying degrees.
Please share your favorite content in the comments below!