Bright Wall/Dark Room is currently accepting submissions for our monthly online magazine. Each issue is built around a particular theme, and we open up the submission process for each new issue on or around the 15th of the month, with a three-week submission window.

We’re looking for thoughtful analysis and wholehearted engagement, as opposed to standard reviews, clickbait, or hot takes. We publish interviews, profiles, formal analysis, cultural criticism, personal essays, and hum

or pieces. We're looking for writing that is savvy and insightful about filmmaking, but that also grapples in some way with the business of being alive. 

We tend to publish critical essays between 2,500-4,000 words, though we’ve certainly been known to publish pieces in other, longer formats. Creative approaches are always encouraged.

For further advice and answers to FAQs, please check out The Bright Wall/Dark Room Guide to Pitching & Submitting

Please note: as of April 2021, we have decided to close down our Off-Theme Submissions form. For some explanation on that decision, please consult the Pitching & Submitting Guide.

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For our October issue, we’re embracing “the B-movie”—a term coined to define those strange, disreputable cheapies that played as the second halves of cinematic double features, but one that grew to encompass general exploitation titles, genre movies, and cult films. We’re interested in writing on films that transcend the limits of their B-level budgets or, short of that, thrive within those limits. We also hope to look at films that might not always receive this level of critical treatment but are woefully deserving of it.

There are dozens of ways to go with this theme, but a few to get you started:

  • B-movies crafted with enough ingenuity and aesthetics to exceed their limitations and become definitive benchmarks for not just their respective genres, but cinema in general (1945’s Detour, 1971’s Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, 1978’s Halloween, 1981’s The Road Warrior, etc).
  • Genre exploits: How did exploitation films and genres serve as counter-programming to the mainstream cinema of the day? From Blaxploitation to slasher films, from Ozploitation to erotic thrillers, from carsploitation to giallo films, these movies provided audiences with bold drive-in delirium that mainstream cinema wouldn’t, or couldn’t. Additionally, genre and exploitation films frequently addressed subjects more “serious” films struggled to articulate—the nuclear panic in the giant bug and monster movies of the 1950s, the cultural shifts tracked in 1960s biker movies and horror films, the explosive rage over racial inequities that pulsed within Blaxploitation films of the 1970s, the AIDS dread that permeated such 1980s creature features as The Thing and The Fly.
  • How did B-movies provide a launching pad for important cinematic talents? Brian De Palma, Melvin Van Peebles, Gale Anne Hurd, Francis Ford Coppola, Debra Hill, John Carpenter, Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich, and Jack Nicholson all started in the world of low budget exploitation filmmaking. Further, many now-classic film genres were made up primarily of B-movies: Westerns, film noir, sci-fi, horror…where would these genres be without the B-movies that make up the bulk of their earliest titles?

What is the transgressive lure of the more “disreputable” movies of this world? What do we locate within, and find pleasurable about, everything from cannibal films to splatter movies to sexploitation free-for-alls?

We pay $50 per essay upon publication. Please be aware that our acceptances are based on the presumption of the writer's good-faith engagement with our collaborative editorial process; a refusal to participate in this process may result in rescinded acceptance.

In order to be considered for the issue we’ll need to receive a complete first draft of your essay via Submittable by September 6, 2022.

Please be advised that given the high volume of interest for what’s typically 8 - 12 publication slots in a month, and to level the playing field between emerging and established voices, we rely primarily on Submittable in finding essays for each issue, and we do ask for full first drafts for consideration (pitches sent to Submittable are often seen too late to be considered). We completely understand that for many writers, working on spec is too much of an expenditure of time and energy for an uncertain result. For that reason, we’re happy to accept e-mailed pitches via editors@brightwalldarkroom. Please include a rundown of the idea, a projected word count (we usually publish work between 2,000 and 4,000 words), a sense of what makes it a great fit for BW/DR (usually some distinctive form or offbeat focus that would set it apart from outlets more focused on news and reviews), and a few links to pieces published at outlets with editorial oversight. On pitches, we will offer a solid yes or no, and a rejection may represent a range of reasons unrelated to the quality of your work—given our roster of regular contributors and our desire to save a few slots each month for Submittable discoveries, pitching is, for better or worse, a fairly competitive prospect!

Before submitting, please check our archives to make sure we haven't covered the film you hope to write about within the last calendar year (we even have an alphabetized database of every film we've covered under the "Films" tab for extra convenience). For additional information, visit our Submissions page:

Bright Wall/Dark Room