2021 was a hell of a year. Lots of ups, lots of downs, lots of in-betweens. But despite (or maybe because of) everything, so many new and thrilling movies and TV shows came out this past year. Whether we saw them in a newly reopened movie theater or at home, curled up with our pandemic pets, there was work that got us laughing, crying, debating, arguing — or, put another way, work that made us feel human again. So that's what our January issue is all about: the best that 2021 had to offer.
This past year, we’ve seen the return of beloved directors (The Power of the Dog, C’mon, C’mon), movies of epic proportions (Dune) and movies with smaller perimeters (Inside), new entries from foreign favorites (The Worst Person in the World, Parallel Mothers) and shows that continued to thrill us (I Think You Should Leave, Succession). There have been unique takes on biopics (Spencer), new attempts at defining what an adaptation can be (Zola), documentaries (The Rescue; All Light, Everywhere), and movies that, well, we don’t quite know how to describe (Annette, Cryptozoo). And this barely scratches the surface of everything that came out this past year.
Send us your writing about movies from this year that surprised you, moved you, riled you. More than anything, we want to read about movies that made you feel something this year, a year when it was often easier to feel nothing. Feel free to get meta, go long — make it your own. We can't wait to read what you send us.
We've recently updated our guide to pitching and submitting, so please take a few minutes to consult that. 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 13, 2021.
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: http://brightwalldarkroom.com/submissions/.