Need a Film? Streaming Media Options and Best Practices

Need a Film? Streaming Media Options and Best Practices

Films can be a useful supplemental resource for many lessons or courses. The IU East Campus Library continuously works to provide easy, comprehensive access to streaming films for educational purposes. Here is a list of places to search and access a film or documentary for courses as well as some advice on sharing and maintaining access to these films.

Library Licensed Content

AVON (Academic Video Online) is a multidisciplinary collection of videos that can meet a variety of curricular needs, such as counseling and therapy, dance, music, theatre, ethnographic studies, environmental studies, nursing, and education. They offer thousands of titles available now and 400 new titles are added per month. AVON can be accessed from our A-Z List at

Kanopy is a video streaming solution offering access to more than 30,000 documentaries, movies, and educational videos from thousands of producers such as Criterion Collection, PBS, Great Courses, Kino Lorber and more. Faculty who are looking for a documentary film to stream for their classes can check Kanopy ( If one is available that is needed for a class, contact Beth South ( about licensing it.

Other Options

Netflix– Some educational documentaries are available on Netflix for one-time educational screenings. Get your class together for a synchronous Zoom session or screen these films in-person. The film or series may only be accessed via the Netflix service, by a Netflix account holder. You can also show the film or series once a semester. To find out which titles are available for educational screenings, visit and search for the title or browse their recent and upcoming releases. Titles that are available for educational screening will display an Educational Screenings Permission (ESP) on their details page.

The internet is also home to a growing number of streaming film platforms that provide access to films for free but may require watching a few ads. These may not be ideal, but if licensing prices are too expensive or you the film is not available anywhere else, these sites could help.

Freevee(Amazon)- Neither faculty nor students need an Amazon Prime account to access this service, but it does need to stream via an App or through another device like FireTV, Roku, Xfinity, Samsung Smart TV, XBOX, etc.

Tubi– Tubi’s tagline says it all: “Thousands of movies and TV shows. Always Free, 100% legal.” Tubi can be accessed via an App or straight from their website.

Vudu(Fandango)- Very similar to Tubi, Vudu offers both movie and TV shows, but it also allows you to rent movies. However, they still have lots of films that students can view for free, with ads.

For in-person classes, the IU East Campus Library has a large collection of foreign language films that can be checked out. The Foreign Language Films Libguide lists films we have in Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Italian, and more.

Tips on Sharing

  • When using one of the free streaming services sites, take into consideration the accessibility requirements of your students. For example, not all streaming sites have the best closed captioning (or it may vary by film), so review these features and make accommodations as needed.
  • The Campus Library recommends faculty use video clips, which are covered by fair use, in place of whole movies whenever appropriate.
  • If linking to a film from any streaming service, be sure to check the film’s availability regularly. All streaming sites will phase out films as they bring new ones on, and library licensed films can range from one to three years and then they expire, so syllabi and course links will need to be updated. 
  • For a public screening of a streaming film, do not use a film from one of the free streaming services. If you plan to advertise or market a film showing, that usually requires a public performance licensing fee. Contact the Campus Library for assistance in this situation.
  • The Campus Library can house digital downloads of films. If your department or school purchases a digital file (with a digital site license) of a film and you don’t know where or how to store it so faculty and students can view it, let us know. We can help.

If there is a film you’re interested in for class viewing and you’re not sure if we have it or how to get it, contact Beth South at If you’re looking for a film to use in your research or have any questions about a research topic, Ask Us! or click this button:

Comments are closed.