Good news! You can stop frantically binge-watching all that Malle and Truffaut that’s been sitting on your FilmStruck watchlist for months in preparation for the streaming service’s Nov. 29 shutdown. The film-preservation boutique Criterion Collection, one of the companies from which FilmStruck culled its offerings, announced Friday that it will launch its own freestanding service in the spring of 2019 via an arrangement with WarnerMedia.
The Criterion Channel will be picking up where the old service left off, programming director spotlights and actor retrospectives featuring major Hollywood and international classics and hard-to-find discoveries from around the world, complete with special features like commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage, and original documentaries. We will continue with our guest programmer series, Adventures in Moviegoing. Our regular series like Art-House America, Split Screen, and Meet the Filmmakers, and our Ten Minutes or Less section will all live on, along with Tuesday’s Short + Feature and the Friday Night Double Feature, and of course our monthly fifteen-minute film school, Observations on Film Art.
Criterion’s library also will be available through the recently announced platform from WarnerMedia, which is set to debut late next year.
After the announcement of FilmStruck’s demise, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese petitioned Warner to keep FilmStruck in business. Earlier this week, a group of additional filmmakers including Barbra Streisand, Guillermo del Toro, and Barry Jenkins put their names on a letter addressed to Warner Bros Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich to express solidarity with Spielberg and Scorsese’s plea to save FilmStruck. As of now, it is unclear if or how Turner, also a key component of FilmStruck, will keep streaming its collection of Hollywood classics.
Still, it’s a great day to be a film snob, especially after how dispiriting the announcement of FilmStruck was. There’s still a place difficult, slow, lovingly crafted, contrarian cinematic art, damn it!
In its announcement, Criterion adds:
We will be starting from scratch, with no subscribers, so we will need all the help we can get. The most valuable thing you can do to help now is go to Criterion.com/channel and sign up to be a Charter Subscriber, then tell your friends to sign up too. We need everyone who was a FilmStruck subscriber or who’s been tweeting and signing petitions and writing letters to come out and to sign up for the new service. We can’t do it without you!
So go do that. Help them help me. :)