2021 Small File Media Festival

Second Annual
Small File Media Festival

Small File Media Festival Youth Video Contest 

We invite young makers who care about the environment to make small-file videos. Why small files? Because streaming video is responsible for 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions! That’s because the data centres, networks, and devices we rely on for streaming are mostly powered by fossil fuels. The Small File Media Festival celebrates videos of under 5 megabytes that show movies don’t have to be big HD files to be beautiful and inspiring. 

We will curate an online program of accepted videos and share it on the Small File Media Festival site

The best videos will be awarded the coveted Tiny Bear trophy!
To get ideas (like animation, text and music, compression, datamoshing, and Demoscene), check out some of the amazing videos at the 2020 and 2021 Small File Media Festival

Please check out the tips and tutorials for making small-file movies at here!

Rules for both categories:
You must be under 20
Your movie must be under 5 megabytes in size and under 5 minutes long
Please record the processing time: how long the software took to render or compress the video Deadline: October 31, 2021
Submit through the submission form here: https://forms.gle/uw5LTzJQc465xoxs8

All accepted works will be programmed on the Small File Media Festival site and receive an honorarium. The best works will also receive the Small File Mini Bear trophy! 

Category 1: Environmental Activism 

An environmentally conscious small-file movie. Subjects might include: 

How much time do you spend streaming videos, Youtube, etc., and how can someone minimize that streaming time? 

How might we shrink the carbon footprint of online media? (For example, stream less; stream in low resolution; watch physical media like DVDs instead; resist addictive media platforms; keep our phones for longer; pressure our governments to switch to renewable energy) 

What is an environmental topic that resonates with you? 

Category 2: Poetry Meets Small Files 

This is a wonderful opportunity to tap into your artistic side and create beautiful videos that are environmentally friendly as well. We hope you can show how this year’s poem resonates with you and turn it into a lovely video for us to enjoy!

Here’s the poem:

The End Is The Beginning by Sanjana Karthik

Let our hearts unlock And our skin touch time Grant life’s movements Life’s changes
To uphold on our skin

And the reminiscences we hold Quench the barren lands
From within

And the sweetness Linger
For as long
As we let in

And our hearts are pregnant With an anecdote to share A memory seeped in Awakened by a new day

The sunrise And sunset
A coupled glow

The beginning And ending Beckons new life To unfold

August 10-20, 2021


Thank you to all of the artists, curators, organizations, planners and promoters who made the 2021 Second Annual Small File Media Festival possible! This year we are proud to present the following artists with the coveted Small File Mini Bear award:

Programmers’ choice: Noor Abouchehade, Diaspora
Most environmentally friendly: Pierre Leichner, Worm Art #9 (Sink) and many other works
Best Bingeworthy:
 Somayeh Khakshoor, glints
Best Storytelling: 
 Mariana Sanson, My Niece is a Dragon. 
Best Oceanic sound design: 
Mar Alzamora, Interstitial
Best Postapocalyptic: Monique Motut-Firth & pr0phecy sun, Pocket Theatre 
Best haptic renunciation: Zach McLean 
Best Bio-arousing: Anabella Costa, FLIES
Spellcasting: Fereshteh Toosi, Toxic Acceleration Spell
Best Cat Video: Rachel Stuckey, Convalescing Camcorder and Two Cats
Best Earth Mov(i)e: Erini Tampasouli, The Shore
Best streaming video cautionary tale: Christopher Carruth, why wonder
Lowest Bitrate: Andrew Roach, Expedition Sasquatch   
Supersmall: byteobserver, Glow in the Dark Slime
Honorable mention: Zoey Beerhorst, Very Pathetic; Markus Maicher, 10Mb of memory

Cairo Video Festival Award
Sunny Nestler, Cone Worms
Monique Motut-Firth & pr0phecy sun, Pocket Theatre 

The Film and Video Poetry Society Award
Noor Abouchehade, Diaspora
Marilia Kaisar, My Grandmother and the Eating Disorder

VIVO Distribution Award
Tamara Bilankov, Magical Car Track
Sunny Nestler, Cone Worms (Near Burrard Inlet
Joseph Clark, Persistence & Loss
Somayeh Khakshoor, glints (1-4)
Leanne Dunic, Snow White
Rachel Stuckey, Convalescing Camcorder and Two Cats
Charlie Cooper, Series 1-4
Qianlin Wang, Waiting Room Special Education Programme
Christopher Carruth, why wonder

Small file love, the SFMF Team ❤

Relive the festival by watching all of the recorded 2021 Small File Media Festival Live Events!

2021 Second Annual Small File Media Festival

The Small File Media Festival return for a second year, presenting over 100 lovingly curated small-file works. Why? Because streaming media is killing the planet and is responsible for over 1% of global carbon emissions, a figure rising quicker than you can say “Alexa, play Old Town Road again”!

The festival runs August 10-21, 2021, and will be held online, in person and at site-specific events across the globe with our partners the Simon Fraser University School for the Contemporary Arts, Vancouver’s VIVO Media Arts and Grunt Gallery, Los Angeles’ Film and Video Poetry Festival, and the Cairo Video Festival. 

Information and communications technologies generate almost 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions and a third of that is streaming video—clogging data centers and networks and tiring out our devices.* 2021 is trending to become a #hotclimatesummer and we intend to keep it cool with small files. In this year’s fest, 90 movies from 16 countries, lovingly curated by the Small File team, extract phenomenal creativity from compression algorithms, celebrating animation, performance, storytelling, rituals in transfigured time, data visualization holidays, hot bugs, lichen songs and much more! 

This year we up the ante by expanding our 5-megabyte file limit to include a 22-megabyte bingeworthy category and a range of works including looped, data moshed, executable and cinematic works. These tiny files have big hearts and will be streaming to you at no more than one megabyte per minute. Small files give maximum eye and mind candy with minimal environmental damage! 

Last year’s programming committee returns including festival director and founder Laura U Marks, artist Faune Ybarra, media scholar Radek Przedpełski, filmmaker Sophia Biedka, media artist Joey Malbon, and poet and youth ambassador Sanjana Karthik. We’ve got panels too! Plus the closing awards ceremony featuring the world’s tiniest trophy, the Small File Mini Bear! 

Cost: $10 regular, $25 friends of the festival, $0 for those who lack the means to pay but want to participate in the joy of small – no one turned away for lack of funds! 

You can find our research confirming the carbon footprint of streaming media at:


The Small File Media Festival grows out of the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, on the unceded territory of the –Sḵwxw̱ ú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səlío lwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations.

We are grateful for funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.