NIU kicks off three-night Reality Bytes Film Festival


The students of Special Topics in Media Studies cut the voting ballots for this year’s selected films for the Reality Bytes Film Festival, starting 9 p.m. April 9. 

By Northern Star Staff

The​ ​NIU Department of Communication​ is bringing three nights of student films 9 p.m. April 9 to Cole Hall’s Jameson Auditorium with the Reality Bytes Independent Student Film Festival. This is the 18th installment of Reality Bytes, and the event is free and open to the public.

Producer Darryl Silver will be a special guest speaker 8 p.m. April 11, the final night of the festival. Since graduating NIU in 1989, Silver has worked as executive producer on a number of television shows, including “Mama Medium,” “The Apprentice,” and “Big Medicine.” Darryl will talk about his career decisions made after graduation and explain how he got from DeKalb to LA which was anything but a direct route.

The Reality Bytes film festival was established in 2001 by Laura Vazquez, NIU professor of media production and theory. She created the festival to give film students the opportunity to competitively screen their work, and she serves as director of the event.

“We continue to receive very well-made films from around the globe and we are pleased to share them with our audiences. These young men and women filmmakers deal with topics as varied as child brides in Bangladesh, power and privilege in Switzerland and DACA in the US,” Vazquez said.

Of the 60 submissions, 17 short student films have been chosen to be screened at this year’s festival, which has seen an increased number of entries from high school students.

“Our high school submissions continue to grow,” Vazquez said. “Their quality is very strong, and they tell very clever stories with true insight. We are very pleased with this new range of rich choices they bring to the screen in Cole Hall.”

The films were selected on the basis of creative storytelling and strong technical composition, and comprise three categories: Narrative Short, Documentary Short and High School Short. One film from each category will be presented with a “Best in Show” award, as decided by a panel of judges. The winners will be announced on the final night of the festival and receive a cash prize.

In addition, each night of the festival, door prizes donated from local businesses will be given to raffle winners in the audience.

More information about the festival is available via​ ​Twitter​ and​ ​Facebook​ or by contacting the Reality Bytes team at [email protected].