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 2022 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 seventeenth year and the festival takes place on April 23, 2022.

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

    May 2019