It’s easy for cinephiles to live in a bubble…
Most of us were aware of FilmStruck – the Turner Classic Movies streaming platform that offered access to a vast library of rare, classic, foreign, arthouse and independent films. Many of us praised it for its quality and passion, and had FilmStruck accounts even before it became available in the countries we reside in.
Yet, cinephiles make up a tiny portion of the world, especially that which has access to the internet. It was said that FilmStruck would lead to the birth of a younger generation of cinephiles. Yet, the sudden announcement that FilmStruck would suspend its services as of November means that it essentially failed to meet this objective.
It is far too easy to blame a lack of an interested younger generation, or the growing power of Netflix, etc. Likewise, FilmStruck had passion and quality, as proved by its carefully curated programs and supplemental content. It is, however, equally true that quality and passion are not necessarily essential to the success of any of today’s endeavors – in cinema, arts, business etc.
FilmStruck did not fail in its passion and many of us will spend some weeks mourning it – before rediscovering the delight of unsanctioned ways of gaining access to films, or even of raiding second-hand stores for long-out-of print DVDs of films that may not even have been available via FilmStruck. Access is not necessarily the problem of cinephilia. Promotion is its problem.
FilmStruck died because it failed in this promotion and marketing. It did not invent, or re-invent the wheel. As such, it essentially had nothing to contribute to film culture – and will not be missed.