Big Shoulders Film Festival at DePaul University is dedicated to presenting the work of innovative student filmmakers from around the world. Admissions are open to all students at the post-secondary level.

Big Shoulders is a front seat to the world’s stories. It is our mission to promote diversity and inclusion by showcasing the work of emerging young voices and unique ways of storytelling.

* Best of Fest
* Best in Category (four):
• Animation
• Documentary
• Experimental
• Fiction

* The Vincentian Prize for Social Impact (one)

Films completed after March 1, 2022 are eligible for the Big Shoulders Film Festival 2024.

Filmmakers should be enrolled in a degree-seeking program at the post-secondary level, OR have been enrolled in a degree-seeking program when the film was completed.

Films should be less than 15 minutes.

Films should be in English or have English subtitles.

Works in progress or incomplete work will not be considered.

Rights must be attained and documented for copyrighted music. If rights cannot be proven, the movie will not be considered.

PRESS KIT (required):

- One production photo in jpeg format.
- A short (40 word) synopsis.
- Director and Producer’s short (40 word) bio and headshot.


• Frame rate: 23.976 (23.98), 25, or 29.97. 
• Frame size: HD: 1920x1080 or 1280x720 
• Compression: Apple ProRes 422 (not HQ) 

Overall Rating
  • Collin Schuster

    Honored to be a part of such a cool festival online!

    April 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for sharing your animated film, Low-Key, with us. It was a pleasure to show a short film with heart and humor such as yours. Good luck as you continue to show it on other platforms.

  • María Paola Ramírez

    Amazing festival!
    I had such an amazing time being part of this beautifully made festival, such a good program and excellent communication, hospitality and overall attention from all the organizers. Special thanks to Sachi who solved all my questions and to Meg and Abbas (sorry if my spelling is wrong) for the enjoyable Q&A. Many thanks to DePaul University for granting me such an honor, and for allowing me and my little short film be part of it.

    Hugs and love!

    February 2021
    Response from festival:

    We were honored to show your film Scream In A Whisper. Thank you for sharing it with us and thank you for your kind words. Good luck in your future endeavors.

  • Alejandro Ortega Zaldívar

    Amazing. I was just honoured to be part of this amazing, well organized and with perfect communication festival. Greeting from Mexico!

    February 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your kind words, Alejandro! We were honored to host you and your film We're Still Here. It is a beautiful, moving drama. We wish you well as you continue to show this film in different platforms.

  • One of the best film events in which I participated. Great curatorship, organization and hospitality but above all great friendships is what you will find in this film festival. It is very interesting to talk with filmmakers from different parts of the world and to know different points of view about the art of cinematography. Many thanks to DePaul university and especially Michael, Fran, Caitlin, Ariana, I will miss you friends.

    March 2020
  • Herman Perera

    It was great to know my script 'The Owl' was a SEMI-FINALIST. I'm humbled and value your honour on the selection. Wish your talented team all the very best for many festival years ahead.

    February 2020