From Tuesday to Thursday evening in Cole Hall the Reality Bytes Film Festival captured the imaginations of students by displaying a variety of short films from the U.S., Switzerland, Bangladesh and China. The festival also saw the return of executive producer and alumnus Darryl Silver who offered advice on breaking into the entertainment industry from his life experience. The Northern Star sent one entertainment reporter each night to provide their take on the annual film festival.
Day 1 by Amy Geldean, Reporter-
Tuesday kicked off the three days of viewing for the Reality Bytes festival. The audience viewed several interesting films, including one made by NIU’s Hilda Rodriguez titled “Example Given.” The documentary focuses on three hardworking students and how their backgrounds led them to NIU. This simple film was inspirational as the students explained how NIU positively impacted them.
Another inspirational film, “Let Me Breathe With My Dream,” inspected child marriage in Bangladesh. It shared the story of Sharmin, a 15 year old girl who was forced into an abusive marriage by her mother. Sharmin reaches out to a journalist and files a case against her mother and husband. After her horrendous experience with child marriage, Sharmin realizes she wants to help other girls find a way out.
From the claymation “Harls” to the mysterious “Switch,” the different types of films kept the night engaging.
“Self Defense” won the audience favorite award for Day 1. When two creepy men attempted to assault two women, the women took matters into their own hands. As they walk away from a field at the end of this suspenseful film, it is shown that they have done this several times. The twist in this film kept things interesting.
Day 2 by Parker Otto, Entertainment Editor-
Wednesday was the final day of film screenings.The second day of the festival saw several creative films screened including “Businessmen,” which tells the story of a group of kids who defy their parents and even the law to perform a radical skateboard move. The film was incredibly hokey, but in an intentional way, calling back to all of the classic movies where boys rule and grown-ups just don’t understand.
Another standout was “Lineman” which told the simple story of an electrician in beautiful, hand drawn animation, providing the film with a warm and homey feel. No dialogue was used in the film, making it more impactful than other animated films, even those released by large studios such as Pixar.
Beside American short films, Swiss director Johannes Bachmann gave the festival a chilling film called “Quiet Land Good People.” The film analyzes a woman who, amidst sexual assault allegations against her son, must decide which matters more — her powerful position or the truth. It was a character study of morality itself and will cause shock as the sinister plot progresses
The films displayed a variety of techniques and styles of filmmaking from documentaries to animation to fiction, but every film called to human emotion in some way. There was never a dull moment during day two of Reality Bytes.
Day 3 by Edwin Kelso, Contributor-
Alumnus and producer Darryl Silver stopped by at 8 p.m. Thursday to share his experiences with students, wrapping up the final day for the Reality Bytes film Festival.
With hard work and dedication, Silver said he was able to amass notable achievements including acting as executive producer on shows like “Mama Medium” and “The Apprentice.” Accompanied by his knowledge of growing a successful company, his expertise speaks for itself.
During the event, Silver talked about his life in California where he first worked in the mailroom of Universal Studios and how, because of his tenacity and willingness to work harder, he was able to put himself in positions to succeed.
Taking the lessons he learned growing up in the Midwest and bringing them all the way to the west coast was a big move to say the least, but Silver said it showed an incredible pay off.
He also said being from the Midwest was actually a blessing in disguise. Even applicants from schools like University of Southern California or New York University lack that unteachable quality of taking defeat that comes with being from the Midwest, he told the audience.
He said an example of this in his life was when he was asked to run and grab some coffee and, without a second thought, broke into an all-out sprint to complete the task rather than getting upset by the monotony of it.
Silver provided a great finale for the festival and all its patrons.