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Film Essentials

Streaming film resources brought to you by the Libraries:
  • Feature Films for Education: More than 600 blockbusters, classics and academy award winners included in this streaming collection.
  • Silent Film Online: the collection covers silent feature films, serials and shorts from the 1890s to the 1930s.
  • "The world's leading classical music channel" provides access to concerts, operas, ballets and master classes.
  • Opera in Video: includes staged productions, interviews and documentaries. Selections represent the world's leading performers, conductors and Opera Houses and are based on the work's importance to the operatic canon.
  • Academic Video Online (AVON): includes documentaries, newsreels and stories, interviews, lectures and speeches, performances, archival footage and more. AVON has a little bit of everything! You can also find films on cooking, yoga, travel, animated shorts and prompts for creative projects.
  • Filmakers Library Online: presents points of view and current and historical experiences from diverse cultures and traditions world-wide. Covers race and gender studies, human rights, globalization and global studies, multiculturalism, international relations, criminal justice, the environment, bioethics, health, political science and current events, psychology, the arts, literature and more.
  • Films on Demand:  the social sciences and humanities collection includes over 20,000 titles.
Using Film in Teaching

So your course has a film component... Where do you start?

  • Check Tripod to see whether what you need is available, either as a DVD or in streaming format (within one of the streaming film resources, above)
  • If what you need is not in Tripod, use the Film Request Form to request the Libraries' add the film to the collection
  • The option to stream a film already owned on DVD by the library may be available. Contact with questions. Streaming requests take time! If possible, please allow four weeks for your request to be processed.

Video Viewing in the Libraries

Individual Spaces

Do you need to watch a film on DVD or even VHS? 

  • McCabe 328 (near the Video and DVD collection) has four individual viewing stations, each equipped with a screen, DVD and VHS player. Remember to bring your own headphones or check out a pair from the circulation desk!


Many group study rooms have screens through which you may stream film if you need to watch a film for class, but please remember Group Studies are reserved for academic purposes. If you're looking for a place to watch a movie and unwind with friends, try:

  • McCabe 311, The Video Viewing Room
  • McCabe 336, The Family Viewing Room
  • McCabe 320, The Video Classroom
Screening a film on campus + Licenses

Film licenses are often complex and the rights to screen films publicly can be confusing, but the Libraries are happy to help you figure out what is needed for your screening.

To begin:

  • Public performance rights (PPR) ensure that creators are fairly compensated for their work
  • If you advertise a campus film screening with a flyer or poster, you'll probably need to have acquired PPR - unless the Libraries have already acquired the rights. To find out:
    • Check Tripod: the library often purchases titles at an institutional price that includes public performance rights. Look for a note near the bottom of the Tripod record that says PURCHASED WITH PUBLIC PERFORMANCE RIGHTS. If the note is there, you are good to go. If it's not there, contact to confirm.
    • Didn't see the film in Tripod? Look for the film in one of our streaming video platforms.
    • However, just because we have access to the film doesn't mean we automatically have PPR. If you're in doubt, please contact to find out.
  • When PPR are necessary you're responsible for obtaining them. Obtaining PPR may take time - plan ahead as much as possible
Do I need public Performance Rights?
Yes No
The screening is open to the public, such as showing a foreign-language film to the community for cultural enrichment. You are viewing the film in your room with friends.
The screening is in a public space where access is not restricted, such as an instructor showing a film to a class for curriculum-related purposes, but in a public or unrestricted-access location outside the classroom. You are an instructor showing the film to officially registered students in a classroom, where content of film directly relates to course.
The screening is publicly advertised on a flyer or social media and people attending may be outside your circle of friends and acquaintances, for example showing a film to a club or organization, or showing a film for class but inviting others not registered for the class to attend. The film is in the public domain. This is rare. Remember that a new soundtrack, colorization, or translation may constitute a new work which is therefore under copyright.
So I need PPR... How do I Obtain Permission?

If we do not already have PPR for your film, you'll need to contact the copyright holder and tell them about your screening.

  1. Look up the publisher and filmmaker. You can find publisher and filmmaker information on Worldcat. (Search for the most recently-released version of the film)
  2. Some major rights providers include: Criterion Pictures USA, Warner Brothers, Motion Picture Licensing Corporation, Goethe Institute.

In your request, be sure to mention:

  1. That your event is for a non-paying audience
  2. Your budget (some rightsholders may negotiate on price)
  3. The size of your venue or expected audience
  4. How you plan to advertise

Get permission and keep it in your records!