The Warner Bros. Digital Networks and Turner Classic Movies streaming service FilmStruck, which focuses on classic, arthouse films that are hard or impossible to find elsewhere, has been scheduled for death since Oct. 26. In the half a month following the announcement, which was driven by WarnerMedia's corporate restructuring following the former Time Warner’s acquisition by AT&T, multiple petitions and letters pleading the service’s case have been sent by some of the industry’s most prominent figures.
The first, addressed to Warner Bros Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich, was sent on Nov. 12, with signatories including such familiar faces as Guillermo del Toro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rian Johnson, Christopher McQuarrie, Christopher Nolan, and Edgar Wright. Even Barbra Streisand joined in the fight. The letter pleads the service’s case, saying that “without it, the landscape for film fans and students of cinema is especially bleak.”
“There’s a reason there was a huge outpouring from artists and fans over it being shuttered, they were doing the Movie God’s work,” the letter reads. While acknowledging that some of these films may potentially find a new home on the forthcoming Warner streaming service, the filmmakers explain that keeping FilmStruck around alongside it would be “a minuscule show of goodwill towards the preservation and accessibility of a tradition and a rich history that would benefit the public.”
When the directors of The Shape of Water, The Last Jedi, and The Dark Knight recommend something, it’s hard to ignore it. Even more so when a second letter comes from the likes of John Ridley, David Oyelowo, and Sofia Coppola. Their group quoted legendary film critic Roger Ebert in their request for the company to reconsider their decision, saying that “FilmStruck added a depth, breadth and richness to the viewing experience that had not previously been attempted, and may – fearfully – disappear permanently with FilmStruck’s demise.”
Some of the petitioners have been active on Twitter reminding fans and users to add their voices to the cinephile crowd hoping to save the beloved resource:
FilmStruck is scheduled to end on Nov. 29, leaving its rare library of 1,800 films, including The Criterion Collection, without an easily accessible online home. You can sign the petition to save it, adding to the 50,000-plus names already, here.