Keep FilmStruck Alive
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FilmStruck is a streaming service dedicated to preserving film history and providing an outlet for film lovers all over the world to open their eyes and experience films they may never have experienced otherwise. With a master team of curators and presenters, they have gotten to showcase films that will likely never find a home on any other streaming platform, with incredible "Star of the Week" and "Director of the Week" selections, exploring the cinema of genres and movements around the world, and, most recently, they've curated invaluable series of films directed by women and LGBT filmmakers. They have given cinephiles an indispensable resource for appreciating cinema, and provided so much joy to all those who thought that many of these movies would never see the light of a streaming platform.
And on November 29, 2018, just two years after they opened up shop, they are going to be shut down.
FilmStruck was always advertised as a "niche market," but this goes beyond mere demographics and streaming numbers. This was not about creating the next Netflix or Hulu, this was about preserving the art of film from all walks of life through the years. As physical media slowly dies off, film lovers all over the world wonder what's going to happen to their favorite classic films, their favorite rare art-house wonders, and their favorite international movies. FilmStruck was a welcome breath of fresh air from the homogeneity of all other streaming services, and made us think for a brief while that perhaps these films would be able to have a home on streaming.
The decision of large corporations to shut out large parts of their film library to the general public, whether through discontinuing DVDs, letting film prints rot in a basement somewhere, or removing them from streaming services, has massive ramifications for the future of preservation. Right now, there are archives all over the country racing to digitize hundreds of thousands of films before they break down and are inevitably lost forever. But if there is no place to share these films, what good will it do?
Warner Bros. has one of the most storied histories in all of Hollywood. They single-handedly brought an entire industry to its knees with its unwavering faith in sound, they made tough, realistic pictures during the Depression, and gave us some of the most legendary screen idols from Bette Davis to Humphrey Bogart. If they don't preserve their own history and keep their legacy alive for future audiences, what hope is there for any of the great films of previous generations?
FilmStruck is not just a niche market, it is a massive archive dedicated to keeping art of the past alive, much in the way a museum keeps artists from centuries ago alive. It deserves to live, not only to provide an outlet for film lovers of the past but also to create new fans through the next several generations, and perhaps open some more eyes along the way.
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