Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

Laura Vazquez
Laura Vazquez

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News Release

Contact: Laura Vazquez, Festival Director/Communication Professor
(815) 753-7132

March 13, 2007

Student film festival at NIU attracting
entries from across the country

DeKalb, Ill. — Entries have streamed in from top film schools across the country for the 7th annual Reality Bytes Student Documentary Film Festival at Northern Illinois University.

The NIU Department of Communication will host the festival from Thursday, March 22, to Saturday, March 24. Admission is free, and all events are open to the public. Festival details and a video promotion are online at

The festival will feature 21 documentary films. Entries have been received from students at numerous institutions, including NIU, Stanford University, New York University, Syracuse University and the universities of Michigan, Florida, Oklahoma, North Texas and North Carolina.

All films are shorts and range in length from seven to 30 minutes. Films included in the festival are as diverse as the schools they come from, with topics ranging from a documentary profiling a painter who is blind to an in-depth look at crystal methamphetamine addiction.

“We’re thrilled that the festival is attracting so much attention from student filmmakers nationwide,” said festival director Laura Vazquez, a professor of communication at NIU. “The event provides a great opportunity for the public to see excellent student work. The competition will be very heated.”

Festival screenings

A special preview night will be held from 10 to 11:30 p.m. Thursday, March 22, at the House Café, 263 E. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb. The preview is free and will give the community a sampling of the films that will be featured Friday and Saturday.

The main festival screenings will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 23, and Saturday, March 24, in Room 100 of the NIU Art Building. Free popcorn will be available.

The winning films will be announced following the March 24 screenings. The Best of Festival winner will receive a prize of $200 and Avid Video Editing Software, while second place will receive $150 and third place $100. In addition, a fan favorite will be chosen at both the Friday and Saturday screenings.

Judging of the films will be conducted before the screenings by NIU alumni with feedback provided to all contestants.

“This film festival is meant to be a learning experience for all who participate, but it also offers entertainment for members of the community seeking a different type of viewing experience,” Vazquez said. “Many of these students would like to pursue filmmaking careers. This is a nice opportunity for them to experience competitive screenings in a public venue.”

For additional information, e-mail Vazquez at