Small File Media Festival 2021

August 10 – 20, 2021 | Free | Online @

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!

The Small File Media Festival returns 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, and rising fast!* 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!

You can find it all at

Live-streaming events

  • Opening festivities, August 10, 2 p.m. PDT
  • Awards ceremony, August 20, 2 p.m. PDT
  • Panels, all 10 a.m. PDT:
    • August 11 Captivated by Small Files
    • August 12 Engineering Heroes
    • August 16 Small-File Cosmologies
    • August 17 Makers Forum 1
    • August 18 Makers Forum 2
    • August 19 Youth panel
    • August 20 Awards ceremony


Find out more about the environmental impact of streaming on the SCA's Streaming Carbon Footprint research group's page HERE.   

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.

August 20, 2021