Big Teeth Small Shorts Film Fest (BTSSFF) focuses exclusively on Small Shorts (91-sec - 5 min) and Micro Shorts (90-sec or less). We believe that there are tons of talented filmmakers out there who either can't afford to make longer films or believe in very short form storytelling, and we want to help them showcase their work.

Since so many great festivals consider short films to be anywhere from 40 minutes or less, it can be hard to submit a much shorter piece in that category. That's why we hope to give talented filmmakers a chance to show who they are in just a few seconds or minutes.

The BTSSFF is a quarterly film festival with screenings in Chicago that began as a 60-second film fest in 2015 and spread its wings to longer (but still short) films in 2019. ​Every single film submitted to our festival will be viewed by a dedicated screening team. The films chosen as Official Selections will then be screened at a live, in-person festival and judged by a jury of industry professionals, that will look for powerful and innovative ideas, creativity and quality.

To find out more about who we are, our mission and history visit

Best Film - Small Short (91-sec - 5 min)
Best Film - Micro Short (90-sec or less)
People's Choice Award - Small Short (91-sec - 5 min)
People's Choice Award - Micro Short (90-sec or less)

- Length requirements:
- Small Short: 91 seconds minimum - 300 seconds (5 minutes) maximum
- Micro Short: 1 second minimum - 90 seconds maximum

- For each individual film you submit, we recommend entering in only one genre category (comedy. documentary, etc.) and tagging additional genres within your project on FilmFreeway, rather than entering the same film into multiple genre categories.

- If your credits add up to 10% or more of the length of your total film duration, we reserve the right to edit them for time if selected to be screened.

- If selected, we reserve the right to pull stills from your film to use in programming materials.

- Every single film submitted will be viewed by our screening team.

- Recommended sizes: 1080p

- There is no limit on number of submissions or production date.

- If your film is selected for the Big Teeth Small Shorts Film Festival (“BTSSFF”), you will receive free entry to our local screening in Chicago, IL. No travel expenses are included.

- Filmmakers hold sole responsibility for acquiring copyrights, licenses and releases for media used in their films and will indemnify and hold harmless BTSSFF and its owners, producers, sponsors, and employees against any claims brought against the foregoing as a result of Filmmakers’ failure to obtain the same.

- All films submissions must be submitted via FilmFreeway. NO DVDs or other media that need to be physically mailed will be accepted. All of the fields during the registration process on must be completed or your submission will not be accepted.

- All entries must be either in English or subtitled in English unless dialogue is minimal and not necessary for the comprehension of the film.

- Filmmakers retain the rights to their films.

- Filmmakers agree that, upon official selection, their film can be played at any of BTSSFF's live screenings. The number of screenings the film appears in is at the sole discretion of BTSSFF.

- Filmmakers agree that, upon official selection, their film can be shown on BTSSFF digital channels with written (email) consent from the filmmaker.

- BTSSFF does not pay screening fees. Further, Filmmakers acknowledge that they are not entitled to any portion of the admission fees or other receipts received by BTSSFF in connection with any screening.

- BTSSFF reserves the right to disqualify any submission if it does not meet the requirements outlined.

Overall Rating
  • Big Teeth Small Shorts was a blast! Great venue, fantastic communication leading up to the event, and amazing hospitality. Really appreciate the team for shining a light on short shorts and giving them a platform. Would recommend this event to any filmmaker or film lover!

    June 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Ian. Glad you were able to attend and the audience clearly enjoyed your film! Can’t wait to see you back at the next fest and any new work you have for us.

  • Mishu Hilmy

    Big Teeth Small Shorts did an excellent 2 hour shorts block! The variety, fun and quality of their programming made it equally enjoyable as an audience and a selected filmmaker. I highly recommend for a chance to connect with Chicago film lovers.

    I think they could have created a little bit more space at the beginning or end of the night for the filmmakers in attendance to get a chance to connect/talk, but I also get having a somewhat informal environment.

    I look forward to seeing more of their events :)

    December 2021
    Response from festival:

    Hey Mishu,

    Thanks for participating as a filmmaker and attendee. It's great when people are able to see the show in person and experience their own film as part of our full show.

    We appreciate the suggestion too on filmmakers having more time to connect - it's something we discuss and are always looking to do in a way that is beneficial to them but not a turn-off to other attendees. Perhaps we'll reach out to you before our next screening and have you give your thoughts on what would work best. We love to support our filmmakers in whatever way possible.

    Hope to see you in June at the next BTSSFF!

  • Cally Trench

    Thank you very much for including 'Windmills' in the festival. I hope you all had a great night in Chicago!

    November 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Cally. It was a joy to feature your beautiful animation and we hope to see more of your work in the future. The screening was great for all who were there.

  • Sean Patrick Leonard

    What a fun evening. Loved the mix tape. Thank you so very much for selecting Crystal Lake Lager. I will definitely recommend this festival to other film makers. Cheers!

    November 2021
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Sean. We appreciate your support as a filmmaker and an audience member. Thanks for sharing our fest with the many talented people you know. Can't wait to see more of your films in the future.

  • Kateryna Tiurina

    Thank you Big Teeth Small Short Film Festival for this fantastic emotions and good organisation! Big hugs from Kyiv.

    December 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much for the review. It was a privilege to share such an interesting and visually exciting film as "I'm Here." We love the opportunity to bring art from all over the world to Chicago.