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 in Category (four):
• Animation
• Documentary
• Experimental
• Fiction

*Best Screenplay

* The Vincentian Prize for Social Impact (one)

Films completed after February 1, 2018 are eligible for the Big Shoulders Film Festival 2020.

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) 


• All submissions must be in English, standard screenplay format (with title page), and between 5-25 pages in length.

Overall Rating
  • Nick Iannaco

    I had an amazing experience. DePaul students and faculty were so welcoming and accommodating. I met some incredible filmmakers from around the world and I would definitely submit again.

    March 2019
  • Annabella Schnabel

    I had amazing time at Big Shoulders International Student Film Festival!!!!
    It was a well-organized, high-quality, cheerful weekend what I wish it was longer! ❤︎ The screening's selection was diverse and innovative, and the side programs were awesome!!! Lifelong experience! :))) Thank you!!!

    February 2019
  • I am very glad that I was part of Big Shoulders International Students Film Festival. It was a great experience for me. Very well-organized and hospitality was speechless. Everything was great.

    February 2019
  • Barnaby Catterall

    One of the best festivals, It was an honor to be invited, they treat the film makers INCREDIBLY well, the festival was really fun with great screenings and events, and I met some amazing people. A shame i've graduated otherwise I'd submit something again next year.

    February 2019
  • Cheyenne Perkins

    Awesome staff and easy to submit!

    February 2019