Ends on

For our January issue, we’ll be highlighting the best movies and TV that 2020 had to offer. We fully appreciate that the words “Best of 2020” might well sound like a contradiction in terms; this year has been tough on just about every level for just about every one of us, and it’s radically altered the media landscape. Yet for all its disruptions, 2020 has been chock full of movies and TV that have entertained, provoked, inspired, and comforted us, and the extenuating circumstances have offered a valuable chance to reevaluate how we relate to stories and how they relate to our world. Art, as Stephen King once put it, is a support system for life, and we’ve rarely needed that support more urgently.

If the year in entertainment has (understandably) become a blur, remember that we’ve seen great movies from the low-budget indies (Never Rarely Sometimes Always; Miss Juneteenth) to the big-budget events (Birds of Prey; Bill & Ted Face the Music). We’ve seen thought-provoking horror (The Invisible Man; His House) and exciting new works from major auteurs (Da 5 Bloods; I’m Thinking of Endings Things). TV gave us discussion-worthy miniseries (I May Destroy You; The Queen's Gambit) and obsession-worthy new ongoing series (The Great; Ted Lasso). There were documentaries that pushed what can be done with the form (Time; City Hall) and startling visions from international storytellers (Bacurau; Deerskin). And that’s just scratching the surface!

Please note that we’re by no means expecting every submission to grapple with the challenges of life in 2020. Plenty of essays will naturally need to take world events into account, but there’s also no need to force topical significance onto your analysis. For better or worse, there’s not much danger of anyone forgetting the context that these movies and shows were released into, and it’s more than OK to leave that as subtext if it feels appropriate.

We recently created a brand-new guide to pitching and submitting, so please take a few minutes to consult that if you haven't already. In the meantime, as always, we’re looking for thoughtful analysis and wholehearted engagement, as opposed to standard reviews, clickbait, or hot takes. We’re a home for film writing that you won’t find anywhere else on the web—we’re not afraid to go long, to dive deep, to look close, to dig into filmmaking and film theory, but also to get messy and vulnerable and human, to explore nuance and mystery. 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 2000 - 4000 words, though we’ve certainly been known to publish pieces in other, longer formats. Creative approaches are always encouraged!

We pay $100 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 December 7, 2020.

Please be advised that we love publishing new and undiscovered voices, but that given the high volume of interest and few available publishing slots, we ask that writers without significant portfolios submit a full first draft rather than sending pitches for consideration. Writers with professional experience in longform writing are more likely to have a piece approved based on a pitch, and can feel free to contact editors@brightwalldarkroom.com. Also, 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: http://brightwalldarkroom.com/submissions/.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.