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A film festival you can enjoy without leaving the comfort of your couch.

The glitz and glamour of film festivals is lovely, but it is often the message and purpose behind the films that matter more. There is nothing short of that happening in this year's PBS Online Film Festival. The festival is dedicated to showcasing new talent on a platform that is accessible to a large audience. For the past six years, the festival has been a place where a diverse group of filmmakers and talent are able to share their work. So far throughout its existence, over 6 million people have viewed the films participating in the festivals.

With a great selection, it is likely the streaming numbers will surpass those numbers this year. Check out some of our picks from the festival below, and watch all the films between now and July 27 to vote for your favorite ones to win one of the festival's top prizes. Complete rules can be found here.


Caracol Cruzando

This short film explores the current border crisis in an emotional way, adding warmth back to what has been a greatly dehumanized situation. Anais is a young girl from Costa Rica who is having to make one of the most difficult decisions of her life: will she bring her pet turtle, Tiku, across the U.S. Miami border with her, or will she have to leave him behind? A story about friendship and the difficult decisions we learn early on we must make, it will melt even the coldest heart.

Director: Pamela Maria Chavez | Partner: Latino Public Broadcasting | Read a Q&A with the Director


Redneck Muslim

The United States' south is not typically thought of as having a population of Muslim residents. This stereotype is what makes the journey of Shane Atkinson as the first chaplain-in-training at a North Carolina center so poignant. Through his work, Atkinson also shows how he is trying to take back the "redneck" stereotype from its racist and sexist history.

Director: Jennifer Maytorena Taylor | Partner: POV | Read a Q&A with the Director


Ka Piko

Set in breathtaking Hawaii, this story is anything but light. Makana is struggling with his relationship to his Hawaiian roots. After his girlfriend dies while giving birth, he must travel with her father to complete a ritual birthing process. Their negative relationship is as twisty as the roads they must take to get to Mauna Kea to perform the ceremony and is worth every painful minute.

Director: Bryson Chun | Partner: Pacific Islanders in Communications | Read a Q&A with the Director


Mr. United States

We are not always what we appear to be, and such is the case with confident, pro-active Avery D. Wilson. For years he struggled with accepting who he was after facing bullying and questioned how living life as a gay man would affect his faith as a Christian. Follow the powerful journey to see how he earned his crown.

Director: Paul Catalanotto | Partner: Louisiana Public Broadcasting | Read a Q&A with the Director


Hungry for Love

Something a little bit lighter on the docket is this love story. Two foodies who are a little less for wear meet one night and embark on a journey through Sapporo, Japan where they will learn about each other as well as discovering something about loving themselves. Feel all of the feels!

Director: Justin Ambrosino | Partner: Detroit Public TV | Read a Q&A with the Director


The F Word

A queer couple is in search of adopting a child from the foster care system. Follow this Bay Area couple through their journey as they tell you about the challenges of baby-proofing their home and having visits from some children to test out their handy work. Will they figure out how to make everything safe in time?

Director: Nicole Opper | Partner: Independent Television Service | Read a Q&A with the Stars


Find out everything about the PBS Online Film Festival here.


Rachel A.G. Gilman is a writer, a former radio producer, and probably the girl wearing the Kinks shirt. She is the creator of The Rational Creature and suggests you check it out. Also visit her website for more.


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