Coming soon to a couch near you…

By Maureen Lee Lenker
Updated April 06, 2020 at 07:00 PM EDT
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If you've always dreamed of attending a film festival but haven't been able to yet, well, now you can — from the comfort of your own home.

As movie theaters around the world shutter and all sorts of public events are forced to cancel or postpone due to the coronavirus pandemic, some film festivals are opting to go virtual. Turner Classic Movies announced March 24 that it will offer a "special home edition" of its annual Classic Film Festival from April 16 to 19, covering the same dates as the scrapped Hollywood gathering.

In a promo video, TCM prime-time host Ben Mankiewicz bills it as a "remote, stay-the-heck-at-home celebration of classic film festival movies and moments from the past decade presented on TCM." The virtual festival will feature film screenings as well as special interviews and segments from the last 10 years of the event.

"It's a long weekend of films that have screened at the festival, plus special guests and rare clips of festival moments and other gems from the TCM archives," Mankiewicz says. The full programming schedule can be viewed at the festival website. The network has also pledged to share some of the clips and special moments on YouTube and social media.

And Turner Classic Movies isn't the only party bringing the festival experience to moviegoers stuck at home. Here are some more:

Annapolis Film Festival: This Maryland Film Festival slated for March 27-29 is offering attendees access to an Annapolis Film Festival channel they've set up for the same dates, where many of the scheduled films will screen. This includes everything from narrative features to documentaries to shorts.

Greenwich International Film Festival: This Connecticut festival is moving online May 1-3. It will include a selection of films as well as online interviews with talent and a chance to vote for the JP Morgan Chase Audience Award. The schedule and info on how to buy passes can be found here.

Garden State Film Festival: This New Jersey film festival has shifted online for March 25-29. Organizers have pledged to honor film screening tickets for 2021, but they've also moved their entire slate online to a live stream available to pass holders via a private server. More than 240 films will be available to stream over five days.

Thin Line Festival: This Denton, Texas, festival has canceled its music events but moved its film and photography components online for March 25-29.

Marché du Film: While the Cannes Film Festival has been postponed, this component of it, essential to selling films to prospective buyers, is likely to continue in a virtual format. Occurring alongside Cannes since 1959, the Marché is a film market that provides a meeting point for producers, distributors, sales agents, and programmers. It may use Zoom, the existing platform Match&Meet, and more to ensure the market continues.

ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York:  This festival, which is dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with disabilities, is making its offerings even more accessible. From March 31 through April 6, the fest is presenting the majority of its planned screenings and conversations through interactive online platforms.

Tribeca Film Festival: This venerated NYC festival is often a great market for hotly anticipated indies, and it's now moving online as well. Maintaining its original dates, April 15-26, Tribeca will digitally present projects as part of several programs, including the Tribeca Immersive Cinema360, which includes 14 virtual reality films, N.O.W. Creators Market, Industry Extranet Resource Hub, Jury and ARt Awards, and the Tribeca X Program.

ATX TV Festival: This annual Austin festival dedicated to the small screen has also opted for a virtual model to take place June 5-7. No word yet on which planned screenings and panels might carry over, but organizers have confirmed the festival's beloved reunions will be postponed for the 2021 festival.

Credit: Mike Windle/Getty Images

Though not all festivals have opted for a virtual component, some have turned to digital platforms to conduct the awards component of their proceedings. The Miami Film Festival, which was canceled mid-run, completed its judging and awards process through virtual means. Similarly, SXSW, which was one of the first major festivals to face cancelation, made screening links available to jurors and still gave out all but its audience award.

This story was originally published March 24 and has been updated with new information.

For the latest information on coronavirus (COVID-19), including how to protect yourself and what to do if you think you are sick, please visit coronavirus.gov.

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