ESPN’s Michael Jordan documentary (The Last Dance) has beaten out the oddly disturbing Tiger King in the race for in-demand docs to watch to help avoid reality right now, and we couldn’t be happier. Michael Jordan deserves this documentary about him. And it’s already become the most-watched documentary for ESPN, averaging 6.1 million views after premiering just two episodes. Now with this week’s freshly dropped episodes, The Last Dance surpassed Tiger King‘s pandemic-brain hold on us. Both docs are available on Netflix, which added 15.8 million new subscribers worldwide in the last quarter, much thanks to us being unable to go anywhere.
Netflix is just one of the five billion streaming options and platforms. Come May 27, HBO Max will be the new kid on the block, also competing for our attention.
But not to be forgotten are the festivals and screenings that had a place until they didn’t. Many filmmakers have made arrangements and found new homes for their programming. And now we have compiled all those into a ready-for-you watch list to help get you through May, at least.
SXSW finds a new home with Amazon
Launched April 27, SXSW and Amazon have teamed up to offer content ticketed as the Prime Video presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection, which includes 39 film titles. Filmmakers that had official 2020 SXSW lineup coverage could opt-in to have their films on Prime Video in the U.S. until May 6. It’s a one-time free event for U.S. audiences, available regardless if you have an Amazon Prime membership or not. However, you must have an Amazon account.
What’s caught our eye?
(Tales from the Loop is also available on Amazon Prime regularly, if you have the service.)
Alma Har’el’s Free the Work collective is also collaborating with Prime to promote filmmakers. Free the Work is a non-profit initiative which identifies systemic inequalities within film, television, advertising and media. The platform provides access to underrepresented creators, and this will continue through hosted panels between audiences and filmmakers.
Hot Docs finds a new home with CBC
Hot Docs at Home on CBC gives select titles from the 2020 Hot Docs Festival a chance to screen on Thursdays at 8PM (EST) on CBC. A special Hot Docs at Home playlist will offer new titles featuring festival shorts, as well as previously screened documentaries.
Finding Sally made its world broadcast premiere on April 30 via CBC/GEM. It is available here. The film is directed by Tamara Mariam Dawit, and follows the story of a 23-year-old woman from a privileged background to how she became a communist rebel with the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party.
Another world premiere looks at cell-based meats. Premiering on May 7 at 8PM via CBC/GEM, Meat the Future director Liz Marshall digs into the clean meat movement in America and gives an understanding of how meat could look over the next decade.
Blue Ice Docs, a Toronto-based partnership that helps acquire, fund and develop non-fiction projects, has stepped up during this time and launched D.O.C. (documentary online cinema). These documentaries are not available on any other platform or media in Canada, according to BID. The film distributor will share up to 50% of each sale with their cinema partner, if the film is viewed on a cinema’s home website. It costs $10 per view.
Check out The Booksellers (streaming until June 5), which looks at book culture in New York and the people that help keep the pages turning: the writers, dealers and collectors. It was executive produced by Parker Posey.
Beyond Moving is available May 8
WarnerMedia’s HBO Max launches on May 27 and will be available across Google platforms and devices (Android TV devices, tablets, Chromebooks, Chromecast and Google Play). It will also be available on Apple TV and YouTube TV. The original pricing announced was $14.99 a month, however, looks like the offer has sweetened to $11.99 a month (three bucks cheaper than current HBO Now subscriptions). The Verge reports the offer applies only to new subscribers and returning HBO Now subscribers when signed up through HBOMAX.com. So, looks like the $14.99 fee will be applied to those that purchase through a third party platform like Google Play.
HBO Max is where you’ll soon find titles like Friends, South Park and Joker. J.J. Abrams also has three original series premiering on the HBO Max platform, each are one-hour dramas. We’re most excited about Overlook, the series inspired by Stephen King’s The Shining. It comes from the same partnership (Bad Robot, Stephen King, Warner Bros.) that brought us Castle Rock. In Overlook, we’ll hear about the infamous Overlook Hotel that made The Shining unforgettable.
HBO Max will also offer House of The Dragons, which is the prequel to Game of Thrones.
Miley Cyrus, Lil Nas X, Awkwafina and others are part of Celebrate the Class of 2020 event on May 15. The event honours the graduating seniors whose commencement ceremonies have been taken from them. The commencement speech will be given by Oprah. It all kicks off at 2PM EST on Facebook.
Jerry Seinfeld’s 23 Hours to Kill comedy special arrives Tuesday, May 5 via Netflix. This marks his first original special since the late ’90s.
For those craving sports, there’s not much we can do other than rewatch old games, play mini hockey with the wall or put on a jersey and sob but if you’re interested check out Twitch’s new esports directory where you can watch live matches.
There is something interesting for hockey fans. The Gaming Stadium is putting on its first Online Hockey Challenge. All you need to play in the free event is NHL 20 and a Playstation 4, and they’ve tapped four pro hockey players to play against fans. The participating players are Tyler Seguin (Dallas Stars), Thomas Chabot (Ottawa Senators), Pierre Luc-Dubois (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Jake Virtanen (Vancouver Canucks). Go time is Sunday, May 17 at 11AM PST. The one-day tournament will broadcast via Gaming Stadium’s Twitch channel. You can register to play here.
As for YouTube, we’ve been watching a lot on the Epicurious channel.
Come May 29, Youtube will stream a free 10-day festival called We Are One: A Global Film Festival. Participating festivals include Cannes, TIFF, Tribeca, Venice, Berlin, Tokyo and Sundance. A full list of titles is coming closer to date for the online festival. Expect free films, shorts, documentaries, music, comedy and talks. The festival will benefit the World Health Organization Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund. The festival runs until June 7.
HGTV is also offering free viewing here.
As for The Last Dance, the next episodes (five and six) will be available on May 4. Episodes seven and eight will drop on May 11, with the final two episodes concluding the series on May 18.
Featured image: The Booksellers