Small File Media Festival 2020


Still from “Mask Off,” Ilvs Strauss, Vancouver, Canada, 2020.

Small File Media Festival

August 10-20, 2020
Vancouver, Canada, and streaming at low bandwidth worldwide
$1 membership, and by donation
Watch our Trailer

The First Annual Small File Media Festival celebrates low-bandwidth movies that stream with no damage to the planet! Streaming video has an alarmingly high carbon footprint: it’s the cause of about 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions.* But these movies at under 5 megabytes each—about the size of a small PDF file—show that great cinema doesn’t have to mean great big files.

We received over 100 submissions from around the world. Artists found many ways to work with the small-file constraint. Animation! GIFs! Low frame rates! Datamoshing! Still images with sound! Movies made with “obsolete” technologies! Websites! Executable files! Very short movies! And movies creatively compressed into small files. We’ve got narrative, documentary, and experimental movies. We’ve got cat videos! We’ve got porn—because streaming porn is responsible for 0.3% of greenhouse gas emissions!

Festival co-organizer Sophia Biedka says, “As an independent filmmaker, I really respect the inventiveness and ingenuity of these makers.” “Small-file movies can be a little hard to see,” admits festival founder Laura Marks, “but you can feel them!” Media activist and festival co-organizer Joey Malbon says, “It’s five megabytes of fun!”


Still from “Melt,” Leanne Dunic, Sapporo, Japan, 2020

Our programming committee, which also includes artist Faune Ybarra, media scholar Radek Przedpełski, and IT engineer Alejandro Rodriguez-Silva, is curating all these tiny movies into aesthetically satisfying thematic programs.

Programs will be hosted on our Vimeo platform August 10-20, by paying a $1 membership and optional donation. Donations will support the Second Annual Small File Media Festival. All artists receive a rental fee.

Live-streaming events:
Opening festivities, August 10, 2 p.m. PDT
Awards ceremony, August 20, 2 p.m. PDT
Small-file production roundtables, August 13 and 18, 2 p.m. PDT

IG @smallfile
This venue is accessible via the world wide web

The Small File Media Festival grows out of the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, on the unceded territories of the –Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations. We are grateful for funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.