The Sound of Silent Film Festival takes place each year in Chicago's historic Davis Theater. We screen each film in silence with original music by our composer members performed live.

The deadline for submission for the 2021 festival is December 1.

The films we screen are either actual modern silent films with no sound whatsoever or films without dialogue with sound effects that can easily be recreated acoustically in the musical score.

We will consider films too that have an existing musical score if we can perform it with the film for the instruments we have available.

In addition to films by up and comers we have also programmed and performed live music to well-known filmmakers such as Guy Maddin, Martin Scorsese, Alexander Payne, the Brothers Quay and others.

We're interested in short films, between 2 and 20 minutes long, in all styles and genres.

The event is well known in Chicago after so many years and routinely gets a lot of press and attracts younger audiences between 18 and 40. This will be our fifteenth year which is a great milestone. The festival takes place on March 27, 2021.

1. I agree to allow my film to be shown publicly by the Sound of Silent Film Festival
2. I understand that there is no monetary or other prize associated with this festival other than a high profile public screening in Chicago
3. I agree to allow music to be performed live to my film, either music that is already in the film or new music composed specifically for the film.
4. If possible I will travel to Chicago for the premiere and drink a beer with the festival presenters

Overall Rating
  • Manuel Alvarez Diestro

    I had an exremely pleasing experience at Sound of Silent Film Festival. I enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with talented musicians that performed and composed a soundtrack for my film. I have been in many festivals and have to say that this one has generated not only a memorable time but also a new angle to experience my own work. Its uniqueness and sensitive approach to the arts makes it as an exceptional option to submit your films. Don't miss it!

    September 2020
  • Greg Emetaz

    This was recommended to me highly by another filmmaker at a festival and boy did it exceed expectations! There really is no other film festival that does anything like this or as much for filmmakers. Not only is a brilliant composer writing a new score for your film, but an incredible ensemble is performing it.

    From the very beginning there was excellent communication and a real excitement for my films. When Covid19 intervened and the festival was postponed, I received constant updates. Eventually the whole festival was transformed into a virtual event and streamed online in an incredibly seamless way. I can only imagine the complexity of that and it was all handled beautifully.

    I especially enjoyed the Zoom interview with the composers, getting to hear what their process was like before first hearing their original scores for my films. Seeing a film you know so well transformed by a new score is just an incredible experience and a great lesson about the power of music in movies.

    Having so enjoyed the virtual event I can only imagine the usual live festival is that much more thrilling. Really cannot recommend this enough!

    June 2020
  • A unique festival, indeed. To watch your work played back on a huge cinema screen, with an orchestra playing, especially devised music for your film, is truly amazing. Excellent opportunity- Seth and his team were extremely communicative and helpful throughout. If you have a silent film, submit!

    January 2020
  • John Akre

    An amazing experience to see a new original score for my film performed by their talented musicians. A really great operation!

    May 2019
  • I was not able to attend the festival, but I was honored to be selected as one of the films for this event.

    April 2019