Introducing FilmStruck

Inside Criterion / FYI — Apr 26, 2016

Night after night, for more than twenty years, the programming team at Turner Classic Movies has been exploring the world of film in a smart, adventurous way. They have stuck to their mission, consistently shining a light on the classics, delighting us with their themes, surprising us with their discoveries, and earning our trust. So when they asked us to team up with them to launch FilmStruck, a new subscription streaming service designed for people who love independent, art-house, and international cinema, we were honored and thrilled. Combining Turner’s programming experience with Criterion’s library of films and supplemental content made all the sense in the world.

FilmStruck will be launching this fall on desktop and mobile devices, and internet-connected television platforms. A service built from the start with nothing but movies in mind, it will feature films from many major studios and independent distributors alongside a broad and constantly rotating selection of Criterion films, complete with the commentaries and rich supplemental content that Criterion viewers have come to expect. Carefully curated and always changing, it should be a cinema lover’s dream.

FilmStruck subscribers will also be eligible to sign up for the Criterion Channel, a premium service that will be all Criterion’s own. Once we’re up and running, the Criterion Channel will not only offer continual access to our library of more than 1,100 films, along with their special features, it will also give us the chance to approach the Criterion mission in a whole new way. After thirty years of focusing exclusively on one film or cycle of films at a time, we will now be able to feature a steady stream of original content that runs across filmographies, genres, time periods, and themes. We’ll reach outside our library to include films from major studios and independent rights holders. We’ll tap into our community of filmmakers and experts to act as guest curators and highlight archival discoveries not available on disc or anywhere else. It won’t replace our Blu-rays, but it will definitely add a new dimension to the Criterion experience.

Sometimes it feels like Criterion lives at a crossroads of classic and contemporary cinema. New filmmakers we admire are passing through our offices all the time, mostly drawn by their respect for the classic filmmakers whose work we are privileged to attend to. One of the most exciting things about the Criterion Channel is that it will give us a chance to capture that energy for our audience, to champion and show more films by filmmakers working today, not just the few we have rights to publish on disc. We’ll bring you carefully selected contemporary films that you might not find anywhere else, including streaming premieres, and we’ll invite those filmmakers to champion the classics they love, as they have been doing on our top-ten lists for years—but now the movies will be available for subscribers to watch right on our channel.

The Criterion offering on Hulu will still be available into the month of November, but after that, FilmStruck and the Criterion Channel will be our exclusive streaming home. Feel free to let us know in the comments what you most want from our new streaming service, and be sure to visit FilmStruck.com to sign up for updates and a free trial offer as soon as the the service launches. It’s going to be an exciting new adventure for Criterion, and we hope you’ll make the journey with us.