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

The deadline for submission for the 2023 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 be recreated acoustically in the musical score.

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 50. This will be our eighteenth year and the festival takes place in April 2023. Exact date to be announced shortly.

We don't give awards but we do have a laurel for every film chosen to be screened.

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 new music to be written for my film and to be performed live to my film.
4. If possible I will travel to Chicago for the premiere and drink a beer with the festival presenters

Overall Rating
  • Alexander Bickford

    My favorite festival that I have had the honor of being a part of. Watching your film accompanied by a brand new score, performed live by amazing musicians, is such a thrilling experience. The entire SOSF team does an incredible job bringing together film and music to create such a unique and inspiring event year after year.

    April 2022
  • Brian Zahm

    I love Sound of Silent Film. The screening event is truly magical! When my life flashes in front of my eyes when I take my last breath, SOSF will be part of the montage. Being afforded a chance to have a film scored by the INCREDIBLY TALENTED composers and then performed live by the INCREDIBLY TALENTED orchestra is second-to-none. And everyone involved with the event are wonderful people and the communication is great. The overall vibe can't be beat. Let me say it again, I LOVE SOUND OF SILENT FILM <3

    April 2022
  • The hospitality of this festival is unmatched. We flew out to Chicago from California to attend. They checked in with us frequently, offering rides to events, buying us drinks, and ensuring we felt completely welcome and appreciated. The event was incredible and exceeded our expectations in every way. The theatre was packed, and the audience was fabulous. The composer that worked on our film flew out from Sweden, and we were able to talk about his process for composing a new score. The musicians were incredible, and there was such a sense of community. I will never forget this wonderful experience or the people we met in Chicago.

    April 2022
  • Vanessa Valliere

    The Sound of Silent Film Festival was great fun. To be able to see our film with a new, wholly original music score played live by a pro band in front of the big screen at the historic Music Box in Chicago was a unique experience. Thanks for having us!

    April 2022
  • I had an amazing time at Sound of Silent Film Festival. I've been submitting short films for years to festivals, and I've never found a more collaborative, innovative, creative, and fun festival than Sound of Silent. This fest actually gives you the opportunity to watch your film for the first time again! The addition of the incredible music written by renowned composers and performed by such talented musicians makes it an experience I will always value and remember. I don't know of any other film festival that offers that opportunity. The festival's organizer, Seth, couldn't have been more helpful and supportive throughout the process. Having my film chosen to be in last years lineup was an honor. I highly suggest submitting to any filmmaker that's interested in looking at their film in a new light, as well as a chance to meet some incredible artists in Chicago!

    August 2021