Bright Lights Film Journal

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Publication analysis

About the publication

Title: Bright Lights Film Journal

ISSN: 0147-4049 (Print) and 2376-8290 (Online)1


Purpose, objective, or mission: Bright Lights is a “popular-academic hybrid of movie analysis, history, and commentary looking at classic and commercial, independent, exploitation, and international film”2 The goal in creating the magazine was to “feature great photos and combine popular and academic styles, with humor and progressive politics tossed into the mix.”3

Target audience: “Amateur film fans to students and professors to Academy members.”4

Publisher: Bright Lights Film Journal.5

Peer reviewed? “We do not formally peer-review submissions, though occasionally and informally we send articles to one or more reviewers for reaction. Examples would be pieces that seem promising but are heavily theorized, outside our area of expertise, or written by someone whose native language is not English (to determine if it’s worth being made intelligible).”6

Type: Civilian publication.

Medium: Online.7

Content: Reviews, editorials, think pieces, articles, and film festival reports.

Frequency of publication: Content is updated frequently, with no set schedule.8

About the publication’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines

Types of contributions accepted: “We are interested in short pieces (reviews of single movies, DVDs, books) and more substantial studies of directors and other key production figures (cinematographers and producers, for example), analyses of genres, studios and studio style, and topics like gender and minority contributions to film. We always need overviews of international and minority cinemas, in-depth director interviews, discussions of the impact of multimedia on film, breakthrough technologies, animation, and studies of neglected or misinterpreted figures in film history. We have no set taboos and prefer passionate, opinionated, even ranting pieces that are intelligently and engagingly written. Political, anti-capitalist, pro-sex tirades always welcome.”9

Submission and review process: Submissions are accepted via email and should be in 12-pt Times New Roman (or similar font) and double-spaced. No PDFs, RTFs, or HTML files.10

Editorial tone: Smart and educated, but still accessible to a wide audience. “We are most interested in bringing ideas to a readership hungry for information but put off by standard, navel-gazing academic writing. If your submission is creaking under the weight of Lacanish, psychoanalytic, and other specialist hermetic jargon (e.g., words like “semiotic” and “transumption”), please reconsider submitting. We greatly value wit and look for literary value in submissions.”11

Style guide used: Bright Lights does not use any one style guide; it does, however, have a list of banned words.12

Conclusion: Evaluation of publication’s potential for LIS authors

This is not a library and information science publication, so its potential for LIS authors is limited. The wide range of article types and writing styles that it accepts do, however, make it an intriguing possibility for LIS scholars and practitioners with a professional (media librarians, film studies librarians, etc.) or personal interest in film. Bright Lights is friendly to first-time authors and employs forms similar to those found in LIS publications (reviews, reports, etc.), so it could be a good place for a writer to cut his or her authorial teeth. In addition to not being an LIS publication, this journal isn’t nearly as well established in the field of film and media studies as some other publications, so it might not meet the requirements of all tenure committees. Well-written articles about “librarians in the movies” might be accepted by this publication.


Audience analysis

About the publication’s readers

Publication circulation: Bright Lights claims to be “one of the Web’s most popular film sites,” averaging 2,000 daily visitors and serving over 2,600 pages per day.13

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: “Our readers hail from 190 countries around the world including, most prominently, the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia.”14 Bright Lights is written in English.

Reader characteristics: No information was available on the individual characteristics of the readers of Bright Lights; film culture is still dominated by males, so it’s (unfortunately) reasonable to assume that the publication’s readership is predominantly male. Writers can assume that the readers of Bright Lights have a professional or personal interest in academic film studies. They are likely to work in an academic environment. Bright Lights is left leaning and favors progressive, anti-capitalist politics.15

Knowledge of LIS subject matter: LIS authors writing for this publication cannot assume that their readers have any knowledge of LIS topics or terminology.

Conclusion: Analysis of reader characteristics and their potential impact on authors

As noted in the “Publication Analysis” section of this entry, Bright Lights Film Journal has potential for LIS authors who wish to write about LIS topics as they relate to film. That said, LIS authors need to remember that LIS subjects will always be of secondary importance to the readers of this publication; writers should take care to avoid jargon, provide background for any discussion of LIS subjects, and firmly ground their articles in the world of cinema.

Possible topics for LIS authors to write about for this publication include subjects pertaining to library media centers and/or collections; libraries and/or librarians as represented in film or in specific films; information gathering strategies for filmmakers, film studies scholars, or movie lovers; bibliographies for film and/or film studies topics; reviews of books, films, periodicals movie soundtracks, or other materials that the LIS author might work with as a librarian.

Last updated: September 10, 2018


Show 15 footnotes

  1.  Bright Lights, Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory, accessed March 23, 2018,
  2. “Advertise,”, accessed September 15, 2016,
  3. “History,”, accessed September 15, 2016,
  4. Advertise
  5. “Bright Lights Film Journal,”, accessed September 15, 2016,
  6. “Submission Guidelines,”, accessed September 15, 2016,
  7. History.”
  8. Submission Guidelines.”
  9. Submission Guidelines.”
  10. Submission Guidelines.”
  11. Submission Guidelines.”
  12. “Banned Words,”, accessed September 15, 2016,
  13. “Advertise,”, accessed September 15, 2016,
  14. Advertise.”
  15. Submission Guidelines.”
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