Warner Media Group made a huge mistake when they decided to pull the plug on FilmStruck, and no one is being shy on calling them out for it. Almost immediately after it was announced that the botique streaming service would be closing its virtual doors later this month, a petition popped up imploring someone to save FilmStruck. The petition has already amassed more than 40,000 signatures, and filmmakers across Twitter are asking more to sign. The latest big name to join the growing chorus is Babara Streisand. Warner Media Group, if you won’t listen to Babs, who the heck will you listen to?
First, before I get into this, let me acknowledge that there are far greater problems facing society right now. I won’t tick off a list, but I’m sure you know what they are, or at least have a general idea. In short: life in 2018 has become a hectic nightmare, where we wake up every day and cringe, wondering what fresh horrors await us. Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’d really like someone to step in and save FilmStruck, the wonderful streaming service from Turner Classic Movies featuring rare, classic, foreign, arthouse, and independent movies. It’s one of the best streaming services out there, and I’m flat-out furious that Warner Media Group is shutting it down. But don’t listen to little old me. Listen to celebrities!
When news of the closing of FilmStruck broke, filmmakers, actors and more began voicing their displeasure. And then, Kevin Bahr took to Change.org to launch a petition to save the streaming service. “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,” Bahr writes. “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?” Bahr goes on to summarize the reasoning behind saving FilmStruck succinctly:
“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.”
Since then, famous folks have latched on to Bahr’s petition. Bill Hader was one of the first, giving a speech during the IndieWire Honors ceremony asking for someone, anyone, to save FilmStruck.
Other FilmStruck fans include Rian Johnson:
And of course, Guillermo del Toro:
Will any of this make a difference? I really don’t know. I’m a cynical sort, which means I have very little faith in anyone. But I sincerely hope Warner Media Group takes a look at this massive outpouring of support for FilmStruck, and reconsiders. At the very least, I’d like them to issue a new statement letting the public know just what the hell it would take to save FilmStruck. For now, I urge you to add your name to the petition, and help keep FilmStruck alive. The films offered there are worth saving.
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