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Tyler

The Criterion Channel

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Launching Spring 2019.

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We are incredibly touched and encouraged by the flood of support we’ve been receiving since the announcement that FilmStruck will be shutting down on November 29, 2018. Our thanks go out to everyone who signed petitions, wrote letters and newspaper articles, and raised your voices to let the world know how much our mission and these movies matter to you. 
 

Well, if you loved the curated programming we’ve been doing with our friends at FilmStruck, we have good news for you. The Criterion Collection team is going to be carrying on with that mission, launching the Criterion Channel as a freestanding service in spring 2019.

We’ve been trying to make something a little different for the past two years—a movie lover’s dream streaming service, with smart thematic programming, where the history of cinema can live and breathe, where a new generation of filmmakers and film lovers can explore the classics or revel in rarities, where adventurous cinephiles can champion films that have never gotten their due, and newcomers can easily find guidance from major filmmakers, top scholars, curators, and other experts from all walks of life.

 

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I was kind of sad their titles didn't get folded into MUBI or some other pre-existing streaming option, but it was probably naive of me to hope for that. 

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It won't be available outside of the US or Canada, so it's essentially FilmStruck and MoviePass for me--a nice film-related service which doesn't exist where I live.

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7 minutes ago, Tyler said:

Are we still calling MoviePass a nice service?

Ha! I honestly don't know--it came into being right when I was moving to the UK, so I never was able to use it. Sounds like it started off amazing, but wasn't sustainable.

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Like Darren mentioned in another thread, I have tried to get away from physical media, but it isn't that easy. This semester I had to rebuy two DVDs that I had once owned and given up because I had access to same titles on streaming. I wanted to show them (or clips) to a class and found myself in a location where WiFi was limited. I had a mechanism to show DVD but not to stream the film. 

There are instances of the reverse, I am sure. (Where a DVD would be unplayable but a streaming option is accessible.) But I've found the former more common. DVDs are also easier to lend or give away. 

I have noted a few more studios willing to go to digital screeners. (Magnolia doing so made several critics sad. Getting an e-mail with 15-20 links isn't quite the same as a package of 15-20 DVDs. But those 15-20 DVDs add up.) 

All that is to say, I will probably not subscribe to the Criterion channel for the time being. Buying 2-3 titles a year (during 1/2 price sale) lets me build access to core titles, and leaves money left over to subscribe to MUBI. 

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For me, MUBI and Filmstruck are both indispensable, and for very different reasons. Filmstruck is an extensive library that I can browse in at will, choosing my own paths and following my own projects. (Not that it has everything, of course, but it has, to name ones that caught my eye recently, almost all of Ozu, a lot of Kaurismäki, a lot of Rossellini...) However, to really broaden your horizons you should occasionally have someone else choose a movie, and that's the valuable service that MUBI provides. It's given me some memorable experiences that I would undoubtedly never have had otherwise. (Left to my own devices, I would be unlikely to seek out a documentary on Chinese lumberjacks.)

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I'm just really happy to hear it will be available in Canada. Filmstruck was not.

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