Big Teeth Small Shorts Film Fest (BTSSFF) focuses exclusively on Small Shorts (91-sec - 5 min) and Micro Shorts (90-sec or less). We believe that there are tons of talented filmmakers out there who either can't afford to make longer films or believe in very short form storytelling, and we want to help them showcase their work.

Because our mission is all about creating a great show for our live audiences we do not require premiere status. You can submit a great short you made at any point in your filmmaking life if you think it commands an audience.

Since so many great festivals consider short films to be anywhere from 40 minutes or less, it can be hard to submit a much shorter piece in that category. That's why we hope to give talented filmmakers a chance to show who they are in just a few seconds or minutes.

The BTSSFF is a semi-annual film festival with screenings in Chicago that began as a 60-second film fest in 2015 and spread its wings to longer (but still short) films in 2019. ​Every single film submitted to our festival will be viewed by a dedicated screening team. The films chosen as Official Selections will then be screened at a live, in-person festival and judged by a jury of industry professionals, that will look for powerful and innovative ideas, creativity and quality.

To find out more about who we are, our mission and history visit

Best Film - Small Short (91-sec - 5 min)
Best Film - Micro Short (90-sec or less)
People's Choice Award - Small Short (91-sec - 5 min)
People's Choice Award - Micro Short (90-sec or less)

- Length requirements:
- Small Short: 91 seconds minimum - 300 seconds (5 minutes) maximum
- Micro Short: 1 second minimum - 90 seconds maximum

- For each individual film you submit, we recommend entering in only one genre category (comedy. documentary, etc.) and tagging additional genres within your project on FilmFreeway, rather than entering the same film into multiple genre categories.

- If your credits add up to 10% or more of the length of your total film duration, we reserve the right to edit them for time if selected to be screened.

- If selected, we reserve the right to pull stills from your film to use in programming materials.

- Every single film submitted will be viewed by our screening team.

- Recommended sizes: 1080p

- There is no limit on number of submissions or production date.

- If your film is selected for the Big Teeth Small Shorts Film Festival (“BTSSFF”), you will receive free entry to our local screening in Chicago, IL. No travel expenses are included.

- Filmmakers hold sole responsibility for acquiring copyrights, licenses and releases for media used in their films and will indemnify and hold harmless BTSSFF and its owners, producers, sponsors, and employees against any claims brought against the foregoing as a result of Filmmakers’ failure to obtain the same.

- All films submissions must be submitted via FilmFreeway. NO DVDs or other media that need to be physically mailed will be accepted. All of the fields during the registration process on must be completed or your submission will not be accepted.

- All entries must be either in English or subtitled in English unless dialogue is minimal and not necessary for the comprehension of the film.

- Filmmakers retain the rights to their films.

- Filmmakers agree that, upon official selection, their film can be played at any of BTSSFF's live screenings. The number of screenings the film appears in is at the sole discretion of BTSSFF.

- Filmmakers agree that, upon official selection, their film can be shown on BTSSFF digital channels with written (email) consent from the filmmaker.

- BTSSFF does not pay screening fees. Further, Filmmakers acknowledge that they are not entitled to any portion of the admission fees or other receipts received by BTSSFF in connection with any screening.

- BTSSFF reserves the right to disqualify any submission if it does not meet the requirements outlined.

Overall Rating
  • Hurray! I got a screening this year! Without doubt a cinephiles film festival - intimate but sincere. Great communication & with a sense of humour, but with integrity to match - as reflected in the reviews and feedback 😊

    March 2024
    Response from festival:

    Great review! I think "sense of humour with integrity to match" is a fair assessment of your film as well. Thanks for sharing your unique cinematic adventure with our audience and for the kind words about our fest.

  • Thank you so much for giving our short its US premiere. Thrilled to be part of such a great festival. Communication was A+.

    February 2024
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Julie. We were quite happy to give peas a chance. It's always great to be able to show films that were shot on actual film especially with as fun of a story as you told. Thanks for sharing your work over on this side of the pond.

  • AMAZING NIGHT! I had an absolute blast with not only the fellow filmmakers at the event, but the hosts of the festival were incredibly kind and inviting. I loved that at the end of the screening they asked all the directors to stand up. 10/10 night, would definitely come again if I could!

    February 2024
    Response from festival:

    Carlos, we love hearing comments like yours. Giving our local Chicago filmmakers a chance to screen amongst a worldwide selection is so important. But we're also thrilled when we can have filmmakers in attendance and participating. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of you in the future, keep it up!

  • Amazing festival and friendly people

    February 2024
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Fitri. Little Hiccups was such a fun short to present and the audience loved it. Keep your work coming our way!

  • I loved being a part of this festival. The communication has been wonderful and it was an awesome event.

    February 2024
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Matt. We loved sharing your unique offering and getting to know you as well. Look forward to seeing more of your work come our way.