Bright Wall/Dark Room offers a different lens on film & television: no hot takes, no clickbait, no “content,” no ads. We’re an independent online film journal devoted to exploring the relationship between movies and the business of being alive.

We’re also a gathering place for writers and readers who want to look more passionately at film. We’re your old neighborhood video store, the one you miss because the employees would talk for hours if you let them, riffing on films you knew and recommending a few that you didn’t. We publish work by critics and filmmakers and cinephiles, but also by comedians and novelists and musicians, teachers and preachers and poets.

We seek out thoughtful analysis and wholehearted engagement. 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. Each month, we publish work around a theme, so we’re never slaves to the current release schedule or news cycle. We certainly publish work on new releases, but we also have the freedom to dig into all of film history: from Old Hollywood to New Hollywood, from German Expressionism to Italian Neorealism to the Hong Kong Second Wave. We also run longform interviews with filmmakers that feel like warm, human conversations, rather than hitting the familiar entertainment-news beats.

The goal is to engage with all that movies are, in fresh and interesting ways: with warmth and affection, with thought and care, with our heads and our hearts. Or, as Rebecca Solnit once put it:

This is a kind of criticism that does not pit the critic against the text, does not seek authority. It seeks instead to travel with the work and its ideas, invite it to blossom and invite others into a conversation that might have previously seemed impenetrable, to draw out relationships that might have been unseen and open doors that might have been locked. This is a kind of criticism that respects the essential mystery of a work of art, which is in part its beauty and its pleasure, both of which are irreducible and subjective.

We believe fully in our mission, especially now, as more and more entertainment sites look for ways to maximize profits at the expense of writing, leaving fewer and fewer good homes for quality writing on the arts. We sincerely hope to be one of them.

And we can (literally) only make it happen with your help and support, because we eschew all the traditional ways that sites like ours tend to make money. Because we believe there’s a better way. We’ve never run a single ad on the site, and we don’t receive outside funding. We’ve stayed afloat the past 10 years, almost entirely due to your subscriptions and support.

So, if you’d like to help us keep going and growing, please consider subscribing to the site, or helping to spread the word about our little corner of the world.


Thanks for your support! If you’re looking to further support our ongoing mission, you can do so here.


Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Chad Perman

Senior Editors

Elizabeth Cantwell, Fran Hoepfner

Editorial Team

Carrie Courogen, Frank Falisi, Kelsey Ford, Nicholas Russell, Travis Woods

Staff Writer

Sarah Welch-Larson

Podcast Host

Veronica Fitzpatrick

Podcast Producer

Eli Sands

Operations Manager

Christopher Fraser



Need help with your account? Check out the FAQ below, or email us: support@bwdr.zendesk.com




I’m interested in subscribing to Bright Wall/Dark Room! How do I sign up?

Click the black BW/DR logo in the bottom right of your screen! Registering for free gets you access to 2 additional articles each month and signs you up for our mailing list. Subscribing unlocks our entire 100+ issue back catalog and gives you immediate access to new essays as they drop.

How do I manage my subscription?

Click the black BW/DR logo in the bottom right of your screen while logged in; you’ll see a link to manage your subscription, where you can change your card on file or cancel your subscription. (Note: subscribers through Patreon manage their contribution through Patreon directly, and will not see the same option.)

I don’t see the BW/DR icon in the corner?

Certain aggressive ad and plugin blockers (Ghostery, Firefox Focus) may produce unpredictable results with the website, as we use a paywall layer called Pico to manage access. As we don’t run ads in any capacity, we recommend whitelisting our website to maintain optimal access; your reading experience will be unchanged.

What are your subscription plans?

Subscriptions are $5 a month, or $25 annually, and managed through Pico. Subscribing grants you full access to our entire back catalog and instant access to new issues as they come out. All subscriptions auto-renew.

We also now offer full site access through our Patreon, which comes with some additional perks & rewards.

Do you offer educational pricing/group subscriptions?

Yes! Email us and we’re more than happy to explore options that suit your needs.

I subscribed, but I don’t have access. Help!

Contact us and we’ll figure out what’s going on.

I’m a subscriber through Patreon – will I still have access here?

For as long as you’re a patron, you’ll have full access to the entire site. If you just signed up, you should have received a welcome message from us on Patreon, prompting you to create an account here.

How do I write for you?

We post monthly open calls for submissions, based around a theme. Check out our Submittable page for more information.