Over the past weeks, as protesters across the country and the world have filled the streets over the murder of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers, many corporations have publicly made statements supporting the protests and the Black Lives Matter movement. While many of these statements are well and good, plenty of businesses have stopped short of meaningfully doing the part in elevating representation of black people, voices, and art. That’s what makes the Criterion Collection’s statement about the BLM movement so much more meaningful.
The Criterion Collection is a company that gathers classic films from around the world and publishes them in DVD and Blu-ray editions — while also offering those classic films for streaming. Like Netflix, there’s a membership involved with the Criterion Collection. But, in the midst of everything that has happened, the Criterion Collection team released a statement that they would remove the paywall on select black film classics directed by black people, about black people. They’ll also lift paywalls on documentaries by white filmmakers about black people.
Black Lives Matter. pic.twitter.com/aRwDVjuI0O
— Criterion Collection (@Criterion) June 4, 2020
Some films that are free right now include Daughters of the Dust by Julie Dash, Down in the Delta, a Maya Angelou film, Portrait of Jason, from Shirley Clarke, and Black Panthers by prolific filmmaker Agnes Varda. There are many, many more films on offer and collections of work from pioneering black filmmakers.
Criterion Collection also dedicated an initial donation of $25,000 in an employee-led fund that would go towards the Black Lives Matter movement and other charities, as well as an additional $5,000 monthly donation.
So, if you’re looking for some movies to watch this weeked, why not check out Criterion?