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, April 7, and Tuesday, April 8. 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 p.m. 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 will have the opportunity to 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.
“I’m thrilled with the quality of work and variety in submissions we have seen this year,” Vazquez said. “From comedy to sci-fi, animation to drama, many of this year’s submissions really focused on strong storytelling. It will be interesting to see which films the audience votes ‘Best in Show’ at this year’s festival.”