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Jun 15

2024 Small File Media Festival CALL FOR WORK

June 15

“Media artists and eco-activist friends, give us a HIGH FIVE! It’s the Small File Media Festival’s fifth anniversary! Since 2020, we’ve been raising awareness about the environmental impact of streaming media. We challenge media makers to intervene in the 4K dystopia of bandwidth imperialism by creating original small-file movies of any length, proving once again that small files are THE sustainable cinematic avant-garde.

Streaming comprises a significant chunk of the world’s digital carbon footprint. About 4% of global greenhouse gasses are due to ICT—the same as the airline industry—and rising fast! At least 1% of that is entirely from streaming. And yet! Consumers intoxicated by corporate media’s siren song continue to stream all kinds of media in high definition – video chat, video conferencing, high-resolution online games, Tik Toks, Instagram Reels, and energy-sucking AI utopias. Here’s the research.

The 2024 Small File Media Festival continues our partnership with the legendary The Cinematheque and our future-forward friends at VIVO Media Arts and Cairo Video Festival for a fabulous IRL festival this October! As always, the festival will also stream online at www.smallfile.ca. Help save the planet by shifting to Small-File aesthetics with craftily composed, elegantly performed, and artfully compressed movies, in any genre you dare reinvent.

Bring us your Small Files!

While most online media ignores its infrastructure, small-file aesthetics reflect on their materiality, modernist style. Some small files are made to look high res and that’s great! Some work with compression aesthetics, and we love that!

Small files are media for the whole world. Traveling easily on 2G networks, they arrive intact in lightly infrastructured regions (that is, where most folks in the world live) and where networks are threatened by war and siege.

We at SFMF love outdated devices. Devices account for about ⅓ of the digital carbon footprint, including e-waste, so let’s mindfully keep our devices for longer and not work them too hard. Travel back to the future with a small-file time-machine in the palm of your hand! Mini-DV, first-gen smartphones, webcams, and anything that can capture and create are welcome. We ask artists to include their works’ processing time.

SFMF is not a fan of AI, which is now the largest contributor to the expansion of data centers and also has a whopping water footprint. If artifice you must, please use a small vision-language model like TinyGPT-V, or train a homegrown bot with precise tasks, which draws less energy.

Five iterations of the festival is like a palm of the hand. Small-file media are tactile and entire universes within our grasp, so we are longing for anything your imagination can conjure: intoxicating narratives, documentaries with soul, the feelings of fabulation, unlikely friendships, CHAOS COUNTRY RODEOs, Cthulhu Devourers, miniscule peep shows and Tiny Red Lights (porn is responsible for 0.27% of global GHGEs!), compact horror movies, performances of the paranormal, surveillance thrillers, portable séances, unspeakable glitches, found footage experiments, movies inspired by the dawn of cinema using analog and retro gear, herbal remedies, and lapidary talismans! We adore performative small files–Demoscene, executable files, and web works–just record it and send it to us (and we’ll showcase it on SFMF web site too)…Total tiny chaos!”


June 15