Beautiful Darling is available on Indieflix with your Nelson library card.

Beautiful Darling is available on Indieflix with your Nelson library card.

COLUMN: Wide world on the small screen

The Nelson Public Library has launched its Indieflix database.

In a feature-length comedy from Finland, a father–son road trip aimed at familial bonding has hilarious results in The Road North.

Beautiful Darling explores the story of Andy Warhol’s muse, the transgender diva Cindy Darling, in a full-length documentary.

Retrato de una Familia (Portrait of a Family) is an unforgettable short film which a 12-year-old boy at his father’s funeral finds unexpected ways to fix a family rift (Italian, with English subtitles).

This diverse list was gleaned from the current top picks of Indieflix, the library’s newest database. Hundreds and hundreds of feature dramas, documentaries, and short films in from nearly 100 countries are there for the watching — and all it takes is your library card.

I love independent films: the weird, the wonderful, the thoughtful and the courageous. I love the breadth and depth of viewpoint, the nuance of experience, and the way perspective changes if the story is set in Serbia, Slovakia, or Senegal.

These are films driven by love of the art form and its ability to touch us with great stories, with issues exposed, and with cultural and human insights. It’s the home of the off-beat or at least off-Hollywood. Independent films open up whole worlds.

It’s fun to build your movie playlist: check out the top picks, as I just did, and add them to your list of films to view. Find out what’s trending, or go to “staff picks” to see what the Indieflix insiders recommend, and if you decide that you share viewing tastes with Scilla or with Sharif, watch everything they recommend.

Sort by country — Algeria to Viet Nam — with a healthy representation from Canada. Sort by language — there are 55, including Arabic, Czech, French, Hindi, Spanish, Thai, and Urdu — and choose subtitled or not, depending on your fluency.

Are you a zombie-film lover (not to be confused with a zombie film-lover)? There’s a “zombie channel” for you, one of 47 different “Channels” and where you can watch Mutant Vampire Zombie from the Hood! and live to tell the tale (in an undead sort of way).

The “classics” channel is a trip through time, with stars from John Wayne to Fred Astair, Bing Crosby to Bela Lugosi. Channel titles also include thrillers, westerns, war, spirituality, sports, romance, comedy, cult, and even one called “conversation starters,” with topics you might have wanted to raise with your spouse or your kid or your best friend, but didn’t know how to do it — until now.

You can even filter “channels” and other collections by audience: family, teen, or adult. So no danger of the unwelcome surprise of the conversations-we-weren’t-ready-to-start variety.

Sort by film festivals! Choose official selections from the festivals you know — Academy Awards, Sundance — to the ones you don’t (but will now), such as the Aarhus Festival from Denmark, Barcelona’s Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, or Bombay’s Animation Film Festival. I lost count at about 300 festivals.

At the library we pride ourselves on our physical collection of books, audiobooks, CDs and DVDs — more than 45,000 titles. And we do love to see you in the library.

We also love our 24/7 library — accessible from your own home — of downloadable eBooks and eAudiobooks, and our range of online offerings: dozens of databases for kids and adults, including auto and small engine repair, travel, magazines and newspapers, learning games and languages — so yes, you can actually learn Italian and watch Retrato de una Familia with the subtitles turned off!

Libraries have always offered a doorway to the wide, wide world. Now, the doorway has become just a little wider, the better to make the world smaller.

Anne DeGrace is the adult services coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. For more information go to nelsonlibrary.ca.