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Big Teeth Small Shorts Film Festival screens bi-annually in Chicago. We invite filmmakers from all over the world to submit their films through FilmFreeway. Every film submitted is viewed by our screening team.

The festival accepts micro shorts (90 seconds or less) and small shorts (91 sec - 5 minutes), all genres are welcome.


The categories we are accepting right now are:

  • Comedy

  • Documentary 

  • Horror/Thriller

  • Science Fiction

  • Animation

  • Drama/Romance

  • Experimental

Film Submissions


  • Length requirements:

    • Micro Short: 90 seconds maximum 

    • Small Short: 91 seconds minimum - 5 minutes 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: 1920x1080 (Anything submitted as a larger size will be screened as 1920x1080)

  • 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. 

  • 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.

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

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


Spring/Summer '24 Season

Micro Shorts (up to 90 seconds)​

  • Early Bird - $5

    • Submit by Friday, March 8

  • Sleepy Bird - $10

    • ​Submit by Friday, March 29

  • Regular - $15

    • Submit by Friday, April 19

  • Extended - $20

    • Submit by Friday, May 10

  • Extended Final - $25

    • Submit by Friday, May 31

Small Shorts (91 seconds - 5 minutes)

  • Early Bird - $10

    • Submit by Friday, March 8

  • Sleepy Bird - $15

    • ​Submit by Friday, March 29

  • Regular - $20

    • Submit by Friday, April 19

  • Extended - $25

    • Submit by Friday, May 10

  • Extended Final - $30

    • Submit by Friday, May 31

Rules & Deadlines


The Big Teeth Small Shorts Film Festival has a mission to give emerging filmmakers a platform in a way that celebrates very short form storytelling. Most shorts categories are 40 minutes or less which decreases the chance of a small or micro-short to be included or qualify for awards. We know first hand that making a film takes a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication so by focusing on this unique and fun style of filmmaking, we can fill a void in the festival community. 


The BTSSFF is a semi-annual film festival with live screenings in Chicago that celebrates short film, from all over the world, under 5 minutes in length. The films will be judged by a jury of artists, advertising, and film professionals, that will look for powerful and innovative ideas, creativity and quality.


In 2015 the Big Teeth 60-Second Film Festival started as part of the Ravenswood Art Walk on Chicago’s north side. It was a chance for friends and employees who worked at, or with, Big Teeth Productions to test their filmmaking chops outside the arena of “client work.” Each subsequent year has seen the number of films grow and the storytelling and production values soar. 


Based on feedback from filmmakers and audiences we realized how much fun the event was for everyone and how exciting it was to unearth the talent inside of people who may not have considered themselves filmmakers before. Since it has been such a positive experience we decided to make it a regular thing - and in 2019 the Big Teeth Small Shorts Film Festival was born. 

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