Got a Minute? Then Big Teeth Small Shorts Film Festival is for You

Throughout history, storytellers have been a valued member of a community.  Whether passing down traditional stories over a winter fire in a tribal wigwam, creating a fictional world on the written page, or translating a story to a video format, storytelling is a valued skill.  But imagine being able to convincingly tell your story in under 60 seconds.  Now that is a truly unique talent.  On a cold evening in the backroom of a Ravenswood micro-brewery, attendees of the second quarterly live screening of the Big Teeth Small Shorts Film Festival were treated to a panoply of talented short form visual story tellers.

The Big Teeth Small Shorts Film Festival is a quarterly showcase of great films from all over the world, each under five minutes in length.  The festival has a mission to give emerging filmmakers a platform in a way that celebrates very short form storytelling.  BTSSFF focuses exclusively on micro shorts (60 seconds or less) and small shorts (1-5 minutes).  Films are judged by a jury of industry professionals that look for powerful and innovative ideas, creativity and quality.

Over 130 films from were submitted to be considered for the BTSSFF’s Second Quarterly live screening.  Jury members whittled this down to 16 micro short films and 14 small short films to be featured.  Filmmakers from United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Spain, and Thailand were represented as well as films from throughout the US.  The January 30, 2020 live screening was held at Empirical Brewery and was sold out.
Sold Out Audience Enjoying BTSSFF at Empirical Brewery

“The fest is both filmmaker and audience driven,” explains BTSSFF Founder & Director Gregg Jaffe.  “Our hope is to give voice to new filmmakers, as well as share great ideas of more accomplished artists, by curating a show that offers variety in style, tone, format, genre, etc.  You’ll see filmmakers from all parts of the world, different genders, races, and ages.  You will 100% see something different from anything you’ve ever seen before.”

Another goal of BTSSFF is for local screenings to be a place where film lovers and filmmakers of all levels can meet, network, and be inspired.  The recent Second Quarterly screening definitely achieved this goal.  Under close supervision by two Empirical Brewery cats, attendees enjoyed some awesome craft beers and free popcorn while discussing their favorites before and after the live screenings. 

Several of the filmmakers were present for the live screenings to discuss their films.  New York-based writer, comedian, filmmaker, and sex icon, Molly Clark traveled to Chicago to support her small short film. Martin the Sea Turtle.  In the film, Martin (played by Clark in a turtle outfit) recalls how he turned his traumatic discovery of being allergic to sea water into a thriving present working at a local resort.  This film is clever, funny, and leaves you wanting to learn more about this talented artist.
BTSSFF Director Gregg Jaffe and Filmmakers at Empirical Brewery

Representing the Chicago scene, writer, producer, director, and filmmaker Emily Ember was present to support Window, a 60 second micro short she co-wrote and co-produced with Zach De Nardi.  “This is our first film. We actually decided to make Window with the goal of submitting it this festival.”  In Window, Ember and De Nardi successfully squeeze a classic suspense story into a 60 second black and white micro short.  After watching this micro-short, you will have the urge to check your window locks. 

The BTSSFF will return to the Empirical Brewery on April 29, 2020.  for their third quarterly screening.  You can learn more about this festival, including screening times, at 


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