2023 Small File Media Festival Call for Submissions

Why small files? Because streaming media is killing the planet. 


But Small Files are here to save the planet – one pixel at a time!

Founded in 2020, the Small File Media Festival (SFMF) is a media-arts festival that raises awareness about the environmental impact of streaming media, which is calculated to contribute 1% of greenhouse gas emissions and rising fast. Streaming comprises a significant proportion of the carbon footprint of information and communication technologies (ICT), which is calculated to contribute about 4% of global greenhouse gases, about the same as the airline industry. ICT is composed of the data centers, networks, and devices that store, transmit, and display all our social media, videos, photos, and other large files, cryptocurrency, artificial-intelligence applications, etc. All these uses require huge amounts of electricity, and about 79% of global electricity comes from fossil fuels: hence the large carbon footprint.

Our associated research team confirmed these figures in a 2020 SSHRC-funded survey of the ICT engineering literature, which generated a 65-page survey document and numerous academic articles, news articles, interviews, and continuing research.) About a third of that is the infrastructural share that supports streaming media. The whole category is busting out of control as people worldwide, intoxicated by corporate media’s siren songs, stream all kinds of media in high definition, video chat, video conference, and play high-resolution online games, not to mention invest in crypto and get hooked on artificial intelligence apps.

Small files to the rescue!

SFMF offers a solution to the rising carbon footprint of streaming through the creation and dissemination of Small-File Ecomedia, low-bandwidth movies of an average of megabyte per minute—a tiny fraction of high-definition video, which is between 60 and 350 megabytes per minute which allows them to be streamed with no damage to the planet. Audiences enjoy small-file movies during our annual online festival and in addition, since 2022, live in the theatre.

International media artists both distinguished and emerging responded to this year’s small-file call for movies that are PUNK/CHIC—forceful and elegant, streamlined, and stealthy, uncompromising in vision, edgy in message. This year we screened over 80 submissions from 18 countries and each artist will receive a CARFAC screening fee for their work.

The 2022 festival ran August 9-14 at the SFU School for the Contemporary Arts in Vancouver, BC, on the unceded traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Watuth nations, for five days of screenings, workshops and musical performances celebrating earth-cooling, PUNK/CHIC small-file eco media.

Small-File Media Festival Archive

Welcome to our collection of small file media from Small File Media Festival for the enjoyment of all! Over the years we have received many exceptionally fun and impactful low-fi works that we will to continue to celebrate.

The artists of these works graciously allow us to continue to share their small file creations outside the realm of the Small File Media Festival. We hope the works of our artists will continue to inspire the world to think consciously about their environmental impact from their streaming use and join the movement to a greener future.

Small Files

Watch some small files, get inspired, and create your own ecomedia.

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