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


Small files to the rescue!

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.

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.

2022 Small File Media Festival from Small FIle on Vimeo.

The Hmm IN low-low-res

Join our dear friends The Hmm in conversation with Monique Motut-Firth, Rachel Stuckey and BiglerWeibel as they discuss the ecological impact of streaming, all things compression, and the power of the small file!

Tickets and details for this free event can be found here!

14 December 2022, 20:00 CET


Hey Small File Folks! Our friends at The Photographers Gallery in London have created the first ever Small File Photo Festival, a mini festival encouraging and celebrating small size photography!

They are looking for small file photographs! They call to overcome the high-resolution regime and propose that small is beautiful, exciting and relevant!

Several key photographs of the history of photography and the internet over a lilac background

The open call for submission runs November 9, 2022 – January 04, 2023!


Thank you to all of the attendees, artists, volunteers, partners, organizers, SFU Production Team and everyone else involved in making the first ever in-person Small File Media Festival a rousing success!

Here are the awards from the 2022 Small File Media Festival:

Small File Media Festival Programmers’ Awards:

Jami Reimer, Frog of Chorus
Best Molecule (less than 1 MB)

Amber Morrison Fox and Matthew Fox, DOOMER 1-3:
Best Trouble (22 MB series)

BiglerWeibel, Twelve Past One
Best Smallfile Humor

Saghi Ehteshamzadeh, Journal
Best Screenlife

Clint Enns, Downer Canada—Environmental Dub
Best Small File Ectoplasm

Tewhigan Bluesky, Klumsy Kevin Kisses Konkrete
Best Punk

Kofi Oduro (Illestpreacha), A World Where Information Can Gather
Best Secular Religion

Andrew Roach, Teenagers from Outerspace—Silent Edition
Most Ingenious Compression

Yuyan Song, JellyFun
Best Nonorganic Tragic Romance

Leo McArdle, Sex and Violence
Dawn of Cinema Award 

Hana Kokšalová, MyPhone Funeral
Best Digital Mourning

TRIPOT (Marius Packbier & Aïlien Reyns), scaling algorithm 02
Most Hypnotic Pixel

Ayana Madi, Built Reality
Best Small File Nomadism, Small File Golden Mini Bear

Partner awards:

Margarita Osipian of The Hmm, Amsterdam, chose these works for screenings and artist talks:

Monique Motut-Firth, Data Dreaming
“We really loved this work because of the narrative it created through the use of patterns and beautiful animations. We were also very impressed that the file was such a small size but was still a good length and the quality of the video was high and not very pixelated.”
Rachel Stuckey, Solid State PSA
“With this work, we loved the idea of creating a PSA in a small file media format. We also liked that the work was taking a humorous approach to talking about technological obsolescence and technological waste.”
BiglerWeibel, Adhäsion 
“We loved this work because of the way it used sound and a humorous and absurd image to convey all of our feelings about adhesion and stickiness.”

Jesse Russell Brooks, director of the Film and Video Poetry Society, Los Angeles, will program the following films in this year’s festival:

Criss Wang, Yellow

Dag Davidge, Electric Storm

VIVO Distribution Award, Vancouver

Mandana Mansouri, the Video Out Distribution manager, writes: “VO is a non-profit distribution & outreach service and connects with local and international festivals, institutions, libraries, galleries, curators, programmers, and researchers.  Operating since 1980, Video Out is a non-exclusive distributor so artists are free to continue to distribute their work independently and with other distributors nationally or internationally.  You are also free to end the contract at any time.  We provide artist fees garnered from festival screenings, exhibitions, and licenses to libraries and universities, once a year as a lump sum to artists/producers in distribution. The distribution agreement outlines a 67% (artist) and 33% (distribution) ratio for fees garnered.  While we have a list of festivals that we submit to, and curators/programmers we have good relationships with, please feel free to let us know of any places you would like to have your work submitted to, at any time.”

Mozhdeh Bashirian, Get Out Before It’s Too Late

BiglerWeibel, Adhäsion

Yerin Choi, Four Seasons

Dag Davidge, Electrical Storm

Saghi Ehteshamzadeh, Journal

Sophia English, It is going to be a hot summer

Josh Hite, A Vista

Avesta Mahmoudvaand, Hellmouth

Monique Motut-Firth and pr0phecy sun, TV Party

Yuyan Song, JellyFun

Gabriel Soucheyre, Anne’s Portrait

Jordyn Stewart, Landscape Study IV

Rachel Stuckey, Moon Clock: 4 Phases 2 Optimize U

Eric Tkaczyk, Press

Criss Wang, Yellow