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NIU to host film festival

The public is invited to sit back and enjoy the show as the Northern Illinois University Department of Communication will host its 12th annual Reality Bytes Independent Film Festival beginning Monday.

More than 70 films submitted by high school and college students from around the world were screened by a selection committee of NIU media studies students that narrowed the field down to 15 films to be shown at the festival.

NIU graduate communication student and the festival’s logistics coordinator, Carrie Foor, said the event benefits young filmmakers in many ways.

“We like to give these students the opportunity to have their films screened and get feedback on their filmmaking,” she said.

The festival, founded by NIU professor of media production and theory Laura Vazquez, is a way for students to learn about filmmaking, while also appreciating the final product, she said.

“I wanted to give my students the opportunity to see what’s out there, that you can make a short, interesting, compelling film under 30 minutes,” Vazquez said.

The longest film in the festival is 19 minutes, but Vazquez said viewers still will ride a roller coaster of emotions in each film.

One of the festival’s films “88 Miles to Moscow,” is an example of just how powerful a short film can be, Foor said.

The short fiction features an American girl who takes a train trip with her estranged father in Moscow.

“The emotion is very real in that film,” she said.

Vazquez said the festival, which is free and open to the public, is a great opportunity for audience members to see what the international film industry has to offer.

“It’ll give them a flavor of what that culture is like and how people view the world from another perspective,” she said. “And I think that’s very valuable both for students and the community.”

The film screenings will take place from 9 to 11 p.m. Monday and Wednesday.

The festival will conclude from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday with guest speaker Robert Katz, an NIU alum and accomplished filmmaker. Presentation of awards and raffle winners will follow.

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