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April 9, 2024

Alternative streaming services: from special documentaries to arthouse and indie films

Most people are already familiar with major streaming services such as Prime Video and Disney+. They have sprung up like mushrooms in recent years. But for fans of special documentaries, film festivals and arthouse films, we've compiled an overview of several interesting, lesser-known alternative streaming services that specialize in arthouse and high-quality films.


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MUBI is an international streaming service that positions itself as 'the streaming service for genuine film lovers', with a focus on arthouse films and much-loved classics. A new film is added to the collection every day and then disappears after 30 days. This results in a smaller selection than you are used to with the typical streaming services such as Netflix. However, quality is central at Mubi. The films are therefore carefully and critically selected by so-called "curators". This keeps the selection somewhat limited and focuses more on artistic and special films. The various collections are comprised mainly of arthouse films, but you'll also find cult films and forgotten classics. Mubi's selection also has a surprising, international character with films from all over the world. You can try the service for free for 7 days, after which you can opt for a paid monthly subscription for unlimited viewing pleasure.



Kanopy is a unique streaming service that works with public libraries and universities. Users just need a library card to view the entire range of films for free. This enables the streaming service to offer access to a wide range of films (over 30,000!), including well-known masterpieces, interesting documentaries, and indie classics from around the globe. You will also find film festival classics and films by thousands of independent filmmakers.


criterion channel

The Criterion Channel is an excellent streaming service for anyone looking for classic films and masterpieces from film history, in all kinds of genres. The service offers access to the Criterion Collection, a collection of some of the most important films ever made. This service is also for anyone looking for alternatives to mainstream films. Do not expect popular hits or the latest blockbuster films on this streaming service. And the same applies to series. It's home to unique, special gems of cinema. You also get access to exclusive special features such as commentaries by filmmakers, in-depth interviews, and essays. The service costs $10.99 per month. You can search the entire range here without an account.


amazon pets There is still something special about buying old-fashioned DVDs: reading the back, browsing the covers, and the physical collection in the bookcase. Check Amazon for special DVD editions, box sets, and collector's items that often include bonus material such as behind-the-scenes clips/outtakes and interviews with the cast and crew.




Fandor focuses mainly on fans of independent films and documentaries. In contrast to Mubi, the selection is quite large: there are thousands of films in the catalogue. Fandor is ideal for adventurous viewers looking for something new and unexpected. With a focus on lesser-known films, Fandor offers films by independent filmmakers, special documentaries, and international film classics. The service costs $4.99 per month, which gives you unlimited access to the entire range of films and helps support independent filmmakers. Fandor gives 50% of the income to the holders of the film rights. 


curiosity stream

Check out the Curiosity Stream site if you're looking for interesting documentaries. This streaming service specializes in documentaries and docu-series on topics such as history, science, nature, and technology. Its target audience is those who love history and science and want to delve into all kinds of topics. The monthly subscription costs $4.99, but you can also opt for a discounted annual subscription.



Acorn TV is an interesting option for fans of British television or international viewers looking for quality films outside the US. It offers a wide range of UK and international television shows, including dramas and comedies.