Big Teeth Small Shorts Film Fest (BTSSFF) focuses exclusively on Micro Shorts (60-sec or less) and Small Shorts (1-5 min). 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. ​The films will be judged by a jury of industry professionals, that will look for powerful and innovative ideas, creativity and quality. Official selections are screened in person at the festival, and every quarter the winning films in each category will be showcased online.

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

Best Film - Small Short
Best Film - Micro Short
People's Choice Award - Small Short
People's Choice Award - Micro Short

- Length requirements:
- Small Short: 61 seconds minimum - 300 seconds (5 minutes) maximum
- Micro Short: 1 second minimum - 60 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.

- 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 any 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
  • Tobias James

    BTSS is an amazing, relatively young festival. The communication with filmmakers before and after the festival was excellent. The venue was a brewery in Chicago which was really cool and they sold out the event too! Recommend.

    February 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Toby. It's been a great pleasure getting to know you and your fellow filmmakers as part of the process. We're glad you had a good experience with us this time around and can't wait to see more work from you in the future.

  • Fantastic communication. Wish we were there. Thank you for screening our one minute short Dark Passage. Ya'll are the best!

    February 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for the review Roshni. The audience enjoyed your film and it was a great addition to our fest. We look forward to seeing more work from you in the future.

  • Mike Schminke

    Big Teeth gave me a chance to show my film but also exposed me to so many other amazing short films I never would have had the chance to see!! It was such a fun night filled with great cinema!

    November 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Mike. Glad you could screen and attend. And congrats on your award.

  • Claire Kinnen

    It's so wonderful to have a festival that gives a platform for short and micro pieces as well as experimental film. My super 8 poem piece needed a platform and I'm so grateful Big Teeth Small Shorts gave it one.

    October 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much Claire. As we keep refining what our festival is and why it should exist, a big part of that is to find a place to mix in more experimental work along with more traditional filmmaking. We're glad to give your film a platform and hope to see more of your work in the future.

  • I wasn't able to attend, but I'll tip my hat to any festival that celebrates micro short filmmaking.

    The communication was fine by me. I would submit again.

    October 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Jeff. Sorry you missed the screening but rest assured you got some quality laughs.