OP-ED: Remembering FilmStruck

Today the film and film-streaming community lost a young, but iconic venture. It was announced that FilmStruck will be closing its operations on November 29th, 2018. The news was abrupt, shocking, and sad.

However, the reaction by many movie fans, critics, and makers clearly demonstrates that there is a community dedicated to rediscovering and finding classic, international, non-fiction, and lesser-known work from all eras, and from all countries. Turner Classic Movies and The Criterion Collection have succeeded and will continue to succeed in preserving and showcasing vital films for viewers.

Fandor and FilmStruck share a vision – both services strive to present hand-picked, diverse films to viewers. We love cinema for cinema’s sake. Our programming and how we discuss it represents that passion. Many of us here at Fandor enjoy streaming movies not only on our platform but also on FilmStruck. Together, we advocate for films that might be forgotten or pushed aside by larger streaming services. The curation for both companies is focused on selecting films that defy categorization, not on appealing to mass audiences exclusively. Instead, you might find Senegalese classics from Ousmane Sembène like Xala or Black Girl, and modern-day South Korean Grand Prix winners like Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy. You can learn the foundational films of the American independent scene, like Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It, as well as minimalist classics like Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy. And you knew if you couldn’t find it on one channel, you could most likely find it on the other.

There are landmark films that deserve to be taught, analyzed, and discussed. As the social media manager and an editorial contributor here at Fandor, I live to see the discussions on #FilmTwitter and on Facebook regarding recent releases, as well as the classics. The beauty of cinema, even when streaming, is that it’s never in a bubble. There’s cultural context and history waiting to be discovered, as well as individualized opinions to form. And I know that at FilmStruck the goal was to highlight films that might not always get recognition or discussion without that little “extra help” — to show films that represent Hollywood’s Golden Age, or foreign art-house classics. I know this because at Fandor we have the same goal. Great movies help us see the world anew, and shine a light on necessary and relevant voices from outside of the mainstream.

Cinema represents a part of our common cultural language. FilmStruck championed not only great cinema, but the way we communicate as a global culture through the language of film, and because of that, we’ll miss them.

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