For vol. 5, issue 1 of cléo, we’re looking for pitches on the theme of SOFT. In some contexts, softness is a good thing; we think of soft skin, emotional intelligence, a safe space. In others, softness is code for weakness: easily swayed opinions, a lack of rigour or virility. We’re looking for submissions that ask questions about what it means to show softness onscreen.

SOFTCORE – sweaty, sexy, and soft? How does “softness” manifest in adult, X-rated content, or softcorn porn? How are sensitivity, touch and intimacy conveyed, challenged or corrupted? Films to consider: porn for women, Baise-moi (2000), the films of Pedro Almodovar, Anatomy of Love (2010), White Girl (2016), Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), Blissfully Yours (2002)

SOFT LIGHT/FOCUS – how is softness conveyed in film form and technology? What genres have used “softness” formally and why? Melodrama, aesthetics of compassion in documentary filmmaking, Carol (2015), Documenteur (1981), The Dreamed Path (2016), The Prison in Twelve Landscapes (2016)

SOFT BRO/BUTCH – How is masculinity (which isn’t confined to any one gender) represented on screen? What moral and/or aesthetic choices are attached to these ascribed qualities? Moonlight (2016), G.I. Jane (1997), Set It Off (1996), Nenette et Boni (1996), Foxy Brown (1974), Coffy (1973), Jackie Brown (1997), Old Joy (2006)

SOFT FUTURES – How do aesthetics in speculative cinema transport or transform ideas about softness, safety, and vulnerability? What happens when skin becomes metal or fairies come alive onscreen? Blade Runner (1992), Ex Machina (2015), Welcome II the Terrordome (1995), Sankofa (1993), Conceiving Ada (1997), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Akira (1988), Metropolis (1927)

SOFT POWER – How are depictions of women in positions of power or women gaining power in business, politics or in the private sphere conveyed? Who are some of the forgotten women powerhouses of film production? Beauty Shop (2005), Antonia’s Line (1995), La Collectionneuse (1967), Sarraounia (1986), Marie Antoinette (2006), Working Girl (1988)

SOFT SPOTS – What radical power can be found in bonds between women, which are so often defined as soft? Waiting to Exhale (1995), Divines (2016), Aviliaq: Entwined (2014), The Heat (2013), Paris is Burning (1990), Itty Bitty Titty Committee (2007), Our Little Sister (2015), The Handmaiden (2016)

Additional films to consider: The Soft Skin (1964), That Touch of Mink (1962), Emporte-moi (1999)


Send us your pitch of roughly 300 words. Please also include three writing samples. Please look over our past issues to get a sense of the kind of work we’re looking for, and to ensure we haven’t already covered the film you’d like to write about.

The deadline for pitches is January 12, 2017. We will be in touch regarding accepted pitches. Articles should be between 1500–2000 words. The deadline to submit articles will be February 13, 2017. Compensation will be provided for contributors selected for the issue (based on our current funding, cléo pays $125 per article).

Submissions and general inquiries: