For those of us who grew up loving them, there has always been a great sense of ritual around watching movies. A gathering of company, a preparing of food, a dimming of lights. You didn’t start until everyone was there. If anyone needed to use the washroom or get another snack, you paused the film and you waited. You certainly didn’t come in late and demand an explanation. You weren’t just watching a movie, you were sharing an experience. The viewing was a ceremony, and ceremonies are bigger than any one person.
When we decided to run our first ever unthemed issue this month–an entire issue devoted to the notion of giving writers a place to purely geek out over their favorite film-related things–we were quickly hit with a flood of submissions and it became abundantly clear that we are not the only ones who find great comfort in front of a flickering screen. As it took shape, this issue gradually came to feel like a gathering of like minds. We’re with our people. We could sit and talk for hours.
As such, we’ve got a wonderful grab bag of cinematic ephemera for you this month: essays on a wide variety of particular films (Kelsey Ford on A Very Long Engagement, Gray Hendryx on The Holy Mountain, Karina Wolf on Desperately Seeking Susan, Anneke Schwob on A Zed and Two Noughts, Brad Nelson on White—a continuation of his look at Kieslowski’s Three Colors trilogy), returning tv shows (Sophia Nguyen’s look at The Knick, Arielle Greenberg’s found poem, created using pullquotes from two not-so-very different tv shows), as well as some delightfully outside the box features. We can’t wait to hear what you think of Zosha Millman and Eloise Ross’s exhaustively researched respective takes on accents and grapefruits on film.
We’re also very excited to showcase Charles Bramesco’s coverage of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, the first festival BW/DR has been officially press-accredited to covert, and we’re thrilled that Charles, formerly of The Dissolve, was able to attend.
Finally, as an extra special treat, award-winning writer Justin Hocking has entrusted us with an exclusive first excerpt from his upcoming hybrid memoir The Depths: A Reclamation. His piece, “Groundshock”, provides a fascinating look at Project Plowshare, a government initiative in the ‘70s which tested the feasibility of using nuclear warheads to excavate underground caves (and, because we’re a film mag, the excerpt also touches on Hiroshima, Mon Amour). Hocking’s previous book, The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld garnered praise from The New Yorker, Junot Diaz, and Cheryl Strayed (among many others) and was the Winner of the 2015 Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction.
As always, the issue is accompanied by absolutely stellar artwork from our art director Brianna Ashby–and if you are as charmed by her work as we are, we strongly suggest you purchase some at her society6 page–as well as Sophia Foster-Dimino, the 2015 Ignatz Award-winning artist for Promising New Talent, Outstanding Series and Outstanding Minicomic.
Bright Wall/Dark Room has always been a fan magazine, perhaps never more so than with this issue. While being spread out across the world is the nature of our digital enterprise, this truly feels like we’re all together in the same room, sitting on the couch or cross-legged on the floor, sharing what we love. Be it the story of the time a beloved director read our tarot, a discussion on whether Madonna “acts” or just “is,” a painting, a chapter from a book, a piece of fruit, or the movies that have brought us so many wonderful gifts. It is our unbelievable privilege to share these gifts with you.
—Andrew Root, Senior Editor