While Netflix, Disney +, and other streamers are offering up plenty to watch during quarantine, it’s important to support indie cinema, too.
I, myself, have fallen into a hole of watching Sex and the City from the very beginning, but in between spending time with Carrie and the girls, I make sure to check out any recent VOD movie releases I might be missing.
Universal paved the way for releasing VOD movies still in theaters before COVID-19 shut down theaters worldwide. They rather quickly setup the home video launch of Invisible Man, Emma, and The Hunt.
Other studios quickly followed suit with Disney releasing Onward on their streamer, and the most recent release of Trolls World Tour direct to VOD.
It’s the independent studios and movies, however, that are important to pay attention to because those are the ones struggling the most during the shutdowns. While A24 decided to shelve it’s highly anticipated next film from acclaimed director Kelly Reichardt, First Cow, other studios have been quietly releasing worthy indie fare you can watch at home.
Indie distributor Kino Lorber recently launched Kino Marquee, a virtual theatrical platform that connects with indie theaters across the nation that viewers can select to support.
The cost of the film ($12) will go toward the local theater you select. Right now, the Brazilian dark comedy and Cannes award winner, Bacurau, is available, among several others, with more to come.
Similarly, the non-profit LGBTQ film festival, Outfest, has launched its own Outfest On Demand at-home viewing experience, which allows viewers to rent the movie for $12 on Vimeo through distributor Music Box Films, with 50 percent of the profit going to support Outfest programs.
Right now, you can stream the tender, sexy LGBTQ romance, And Then We Danced, which was Sweden’s submission for the Academy Award.
Focus Features has released the best film so far this year, Eliza Hittman’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always, on VOD at the “in theaters” price of $19.99, matching the price set by Universal for their films.
It might seem like a steep price to pay, considering AMC A-List and Alamo Drafthouse Season Pass allow you to pay monthly rather than the typical flat fee for a single ticket; however, in these unprecedented times, it’s worth the price of admission to support independent cinema.
And of course there’s Netflix, whose model of releasing has not been interrupted. The directorial debut from Alan Yang, Tigertail, is an adult coming-of-age drama from the Master of None co-creator and is available now.
Below we’ve pulled together a list of the best independent film available on streaming right now:
At this rate with movies being released this year, Eliza Hittman’s third feature could come out on top as the very best offering there is. Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a sensitive, naturalistic and incredibly timely and moving tale about a young woman named Autumn traveling to New York with her best friend to get an abortion. It’s a powerful message movie without ever announcing itself as one, and Hittman’s direction provides both a sense of immediacy and patient compassion for Autumn’s journey.
Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Thoroughbreds) is radiant as the titular Emma in this adaptation of Jane Austen’s comedy classic. Frothy, effervescent, funny and ravishingly romantic, Emma is the perfect piece of escapism for these times. Strong adaptations of classic literature such as this one reminds you why these texts never go out of style.
Winner of the Cannes jury prize last year, this Brazilian dark comedy twists and turns in ways you’ll never expect. If you’re looking for foreign fare similar to Parasite in its genre-bending and tone-mashing, both hilarious and haunting in equal parts, with a winding road of an unpredictable plot, look no further than Bacurau.
Shortlisted at last year’s Academy Awards for Best International Film, this searing psychodrama out of Russia won’t be easy to shake after the credits role. Winner of best director at the Cannes Film Festival, the slow burn, tightening the screw drama of Beanpole is reminiscent of Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.
Sexy and exhilarating, And Then We Danced is the perfect feel-good romance to watch while you’re sheltered at home. Two handsome leads court each other in a literal dance of romance, and the movie’s highlight is a performance of Robyn’s “Honey” that’ll leave you swooning. And after the movie, check out the interview with the cast provided by the good folks over at Outfest.
Alan Yang, co-creator of Master of None, pulls from the experiences of his own father to propel the drama of his directorial debut Tigertail. In a rare and well-deserved leading role for veteran actor Tzi Ma, he plays a distant father who learns to reconnect with his estranged daughter while reflecting on the regrets of his past. Yang wears his influences on his sleeve, such as Wong Kar-wai, and proves himself a new filmmaker to watch.