Bright Lights Film Journal

Publication Profiles > Civilian Publications > Bright Lights Film Journal

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

“Bright Lights is one of the most widely read, quoted, and respected movie sites on the Web, mixing savvy pop reviews with in-depth analysis of current and classic, edgy and indie, international and experimental cinema – with wit and a political edge.” 4

Target audience: “Amateur film fans to students and professors to Academy members.”5

Publisher: Bright Lights Film Journal.6

Peer reviewed? No. “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).”7

Type: Civilian publication.

Medium: Online. Print magazine was discontinued in 1995.8

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

Frequency of publication: Content is updated frequently, with no set schedule.9

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. Typically, we have no particular theme, preferring a potpourri made up of what your editor, our regular writers, and other contributors are thinking and writing about.”10

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, Google Docs, or HTML files. “Straightforward reviews (single film, DVD, book) might be in the 1,000-2,000 range; profiles of individuals, production histories, and think pieces can run as long as the material dictates (within reason).”11

Response Time: “For new authors, we try to respond within two to four weeks; could be sooner or later depending on the existing pile. Feel free to nudge us if you think we’re taking too long.” 12

Editorial tone: Smart and educated, but still accessible to a wide audience. “Bright Lights is not an academic ghetto, and looks more for idiosyncratic style, and the ability to make ideas available to the widest possible audience, than bone-dry scholarly analysis. We are most interested in bringing ideas to a readership hungry for information but put off by standard, navel-gazing academic writing. We greatly value wit and look for literary value in submissions.”13

Style guide used: “Footnote/references style can be MLA or any other style as long as it’s consistent. However, a Works Cited approach (avoiding footnotes) is generally preferred, if possible.” 14

Conclusion: Evaluation of publication’s potential for LIS authors

This is not a LIS 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 (archivists, 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: “One of the Web’s most popular film sites, BLFJ averages 2,000 daily visitors and serves over 2,600 pages per day. Over 85% of our page hits are from new visitors.” 15

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. We also receive thousands of hits from European, South American, and Asian countries where English is a second language, for example, Germany, India, Turkey, France, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, China, Spain, and Brazil.”16 Bright Lights is written in English.

Reader characteristics: No information was available on the individual characteristics of the readers of Bright Lights. 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.17

Knowledge of LIS subject matter: LIS authors writing for this publication cannot assume that their readers have any knowledge of LIS topics, jargon, 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 film archives; 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 20, 2020


Show 17 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. “Submission Guidelines.”,, accessed September 20, 2020,
  5. “Advertise.”
  6. “Bright Lights Film Journal.”,, accessed September 15, 2016,
  7. “Submission Guidelines.”
  8. “History.”
  9. “Submission Guidelines.”
  10. “Submission Guidelines.”
  11. “Submission Guidelines.”
  12. “Submission Guidelines.”
  13. “Submission Guidelines.”
  14. “Submission Guidelines.”
  15. “Advertise.”
  16. “Advertise.”
  17. “Submission Guidelines.”
Comments are closed.