Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

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

March 25, 2008

Department of Communication hosts annual
Reality Bytes Student Documentary Film Fest

DeKalb, Ill. — The NIU Department of Communication will host its 8th annual Reality Bytes Student Documentary Film Festival, recognizing exceptional student-produced films nationwide.

The festival will kick off from 9 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, at The House Café, 263 E. Lincoln Highway. Festival screenings will continue from 7 to 9 p.m. on both Friday, April 4, and Saturday, April 5, in Room 100 of the NIU Visual and Performing Arts Building.

Admission is free and all screenings are open to the public.

The festival will feature 17 short documentary films, each with a running time under 30 minutes. Submissions have been received from film students at NIU, Florida State University, Old Dominion University, California Institute of the Arts, Virginia Wesleyan College, Rowan University and the universities of Georgia, New Orleans and Iowa.

Audiences can expect a diverse viewing experience as filmmakers explore historical, biographical and social issues. Each festival screening will feature no less than five films.

Featured films will include: “Speed Limit 120: The First Skydive,” in which cameras follow four individuals as they skydive for the first time; “When I was 19,” which reveals hardships faced by Iraq war veterans; and “Eyes of the Storm,” which documents the experiences of newspaper photographers who covered the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Other topics include the sport of roller derby, the struggles of homelessness and the harmful truths behind marijuana addiction.

Awards will be presented to the winning documentaries on the final night of the festival. The Best of Festival winner will receive $200 and Avid video editing software. The second place winner will receive $150, and third place will receive $100.

Discussions will follow the Friday and Saturday night screenings. Free candy will be provided. While there is no charge for the events, donations in support of next year's festival are welcome.

Visit the festival Web site at to purchase Reality Bytes T-shirts and view a complete listing of events.

For more information, contact Professor Laura Vazquez at or (815) 753-7132.