We are actively seeking new writers and contributors as we aim to further diversify the range of voices within our pages and on our website. We encourage pitches from writers of all experience levels and all backgrounds and would particularly like to hear from Black, Asian and minority ethnic writers, the LGBTIQ+ community, writers with disabilities and emerging voices. That said, please feel welcome to pitch even if none of these describe you. If you have an idea for a great article for Sight & Sound, we want to hear from you.

We understand that it can be difficult for non-established writers to get a foot in the door at publications, so we hope this guide will be helpful to you as you consider what stories to pitch, and to us as we commit to developing and publishing a wider range of voices in our magazine and on our website. This is an evolving document, so if you feel like there is important information missing or would like us to clarify a point, please drop us a line at s&s@bfi.org.uk.

About Sight & Sound

Sight & Sound is the UK’s oldest film publication and an internationally respected voice in film criticism and journalism. We aim to publish the best quality, most probing and insightful writing on cinema and TV – writing that is interesting and accessible to cinephiles and general readers alike. We publish a monthly magazine, daily content on our website and social channels, and a weekly newsletter. Global independent and arthouse film is at the heart of what we cover, but we are interested in every corner of moving-image culture, from TikTok and TV series to Hollywood blockbusters. As with pitches to any publication, it’s best if you’re familiar with our content and style before you write to us – but we’d love to hear what we should be covering that we’re currently not.

What are we looking for?

Each Sight & Sound section is edited by a member of the editorial team, and each section has its own specific needs. A lot of our content sits across print and digital, though some is specific to its platform. For more detail on how to pitch for each section, please contact the relevant section editor on the email addresses provided below.

Features

We are always on the lookout for singular, scintillating features that expand our readers’ awareness and understanding of film and wider screen culture. Our regular formats include interviews, profiles, essays and re-evaluations. Many, but not all, of these are tied to release dates, events and anniversaries; however, a great piece doesn’t rely on timeliness to make an impression, so please don’t limit your ideas to what’s in cycle. If you feel there’s a fascinating story that hasn’t yet been told, a corner of film history waiting to be revealed, or an essential argument needing to be made, we want to hear from you.

Contact: james.bell@bfi.org.uk

Reviews

Critical thought and opinion is the backbone of what we do, and as such our reviews section is an important part of our identity and purpose. We’re looking for writers with a deep understanding of cinema and screen culture who can cut through to the essence of what the director, writer, actor is trying to achieve and bring a wider cultural context to their analysis. We want to know what the writer thinks and why, and through this we want to help our readers understand the work better and make decisions about whether or not to invest their time in it.

We are especially keen for new voices in this section, so if you have something to say, know your stuff and believe that your point of view will bring something to Sight & Sound that we may be lacking, we would love to hear from you.

Rushes

This is the opening section of the magazine. Everything is linked to current events and releases. We publish news, reportage, op-eds, festival reports, obituaries, set reports, and shorter interviews with filmmakers, actors and film industry professionals.

A note about festival reports: there are a huge number of film festivals taking place around the world and we do our best to sample and report from a wide range of them. We welcome reports from small festivals off the beaten track as well as internationally renowned events. Please do think about the specific angle of the report (rather than a list of films watched) and what will be interesting for readers who haven’t attended the event. Unfortunately, we are unable to arrange festival accreditation for writers.

Wide Angle

Wide Angle is a miscellany section that revels in the more niche, esoteric and/or experimental strains of moving-image culture, both contemporary and historical. There’s a regular fixture (Primal Screen) devoted to the glories of silent cinema, while other pages rotate between explorations of artists’ moving-image work; thematic features homing in on overlooked elements of cinema and cinema culture; and career tributes to directors and others whose work occupies a marginal space, or who’ve been, for any number of reasons, unjustly forgotten or sidelined in cinema history.

Put another way, it’s a section devoted to diversity, discovery and resurrection, and as such we’d love to hear from you about directors you’ve come across whom we’ve probably never heard of, or fascinating moving-image work in any of the areas mentioned above, and from anywhere in the world, that you’d be excited to share with our readers.

Sight & Sound online

While much of our content is published across both the magazine and our digital platforms, we do also publish web-only content between and beyond issues of the magazine. We’re interested in prompt, insightful responses to current events and trends, as well as different takes and perspectives that will connect our readers to a wider range of great cinema.

We’re also very interested in video essays as a form of film criticism. ([[embed type­link nid=23956 title=”See our pieces here.”]]) They’re a bigger investment for us so we can usually only commission them on top stories – relating to new releases, outstanding filmmakers, important film movements or major retrospectives – but if you’re an adept video critic then we’d love to hear from you.

How to pitch us

New writers: please send us a selection of articles you’ve written before and tell us a bit about yourself. If you have a special interest or expertise in a particular area of cinema or television – whether that’s in a national cinema, a genre, or something else – do let us know.

When you are pitching, please make this clear in the subject line of your email:

  • PITCH: [insert excellent and attention-grabbing idea for a feature here]

Always tell us why we need to cover the filmmaker/film/event etc that you want to write about and tell us what angle you would take with the subject. Think about our readers and why they will want to read the piece. How will you make it interesting and accessible to them? How would you headline your piece to capture online readers’ attention?

Generally we don’t publish articles that we receive on spec, though please do enquire as every case is different. 

What we’re not looking for

We are not an academic publisher and will not publish your thesis.

If we have interviewed a filmmaker recently, it’s unlikely that we will want to speak to them again for at least a few months.

As we’re a small team, we cannot guarantee that all submissions will receive a response – but we will do our best.

What we pay

We pay at a rate of £120 for every 1,000 words for both print and online. For a video essay, our standard rate is £500.

Lead times

Generally we work 6-12 weeks in advance, with the longest lead time on features.