Like many events, the 2020 EQUUS Film & Arts Fest is going virtual this year.

Unlike many events in 2020, this one is perfectly suited for the at-home experience. Featuring 50 plus films, 60 books, 13 artists, six podcasts and more, it’s 10 days of jam-packed equestrian escapism—all from the comfort of your couch. And it starts now!

The EQUUS Film & Arts Fest launches today, Friday, November 13 and runs through Sunday, November 22.

Bringing together horse lovers around the world, the theme for 2020 is appropriately “Pony On,” reminding us to keep working and causing mischief even when times are hard. One common thread in this year’s submissions is the idea that horses connect us, serving as bridges across language, culture, and political divides in ways that very little else can.

Two of this year’s selections take place in Israeli, one of the globe’s most contested regions. Both documentaries reveal how horses filled in the gap of commonality for Palestinian and Israeli horsemen. The first, The Stallion of Palestinefeatures a young horse breeder who lives on the West Bank but travels back and forth across the border to compete. The other, UnReined, is a film about an Israeli Jewish equestrian named Nancy Zeitlin, who helped create the Palestinian Equestrian Team.

There are also films from 16 different countries spanning topics from  French Trotting Races in Jean Michel Bazire, Canadian Mustang conservation in Wild Hearts, and even cultivating Kazakhstan’s perfect sport horse in the documentary Over the Barriers.

The sense of community crosses more than just culture and country, though. This year’s films are a testament to how horses connect us to nature, each other, and even our wellbeing. We find these connections with two untrained Highland Ponies in the Scottish mountains in the film The Highlands-Wilderness Adventure, with veterans, disabled children and horses in The Red Barn: A Legacy of Love, and many others. 

Along with films, digital attendees can browse through the array of books, visual art, and the film Fest’s newest edition, horse-themed podcasts. The EQUUS Film Fest team will also be conducting interviews with many of the creators via Zoom throughout the week, which will be available to watch both live and on-demand.

Even if we cannot be together in person, there is something special about getting to view new films for the first time, knowing that filmmakers are watching and waiting for our reactions. Perhaps one of the pandemic’s hidden blessings is that digital events make it easier to come together. We do not need a plane ticket, a hotel, or even a nice outfit for the night, just a place to hit play and an open heart.

Tickets for the EQUUS Film & Arts Festival start at $7.99. Pick up yours today!