NIU Reality Bytes Film Festival opens Monday

The NIU Department of Communication is preparing to raise the curtain on its popular Reality Bytes Independent Student Film Festival in Cole Hall 100.

The festival, now in its 13th year, is open to the public, and admission is free.

Screenings of student-produced films will be featured from 9 to 11 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Of the 90-plus submissions, 27 short films have been selected to be screened at this year’s festival, including five documentary and 16 fiction films, as well as three works produced by high school students.

Reality Bytes audience members will be able to vote for their favorite entries each night and have an opportunity to win a door prize. A “Best in Show” award will be given in each film category.

Voice actor Justin Barrett, the voice of AT&T commercials and TV Land, will close out the three-day festival with a special presentation titled, “Life on the Mic,” from 7 to 9 Wednesday. Barrett also will announce the winning films.

Barrett’s accomplishments include voice work on various documentaries and major advertising campaigns for McDonald’s, Amex, Dunkin Donuts and Dr. Scholl’s, along with work for CNN, NBC, Nickelodeon, BBC America and Showtime. Audience members can learn more about his journey to success during a Q&A following his presentation.

The Reality Bytes Film Festival was established in 2001 by Laura Vazquez, professor of media production and theory in NIU’s Department of Communication. Vazquez serves as director of the festival, which was created to give high school and college film students the opportunity to competitively screen their work.

The Reality Bytes Film Festival is able to reach film students worldwide thanks to the online film submission system Withoutabox, which streamlines the submission and review process. This year Reality Bytes received nearly 100 submissions from high school, undergraduate and graduate students.

More information about the festival is available via Twitter and Facebook or by contacting Jasmine Davis, Reality Bytes press coordinator, at niurealitybytes@gmail.com.