The Department of Communication at Northern Illinois University is gearing up to host its annual Reality Bytes Film Festival, showcasing two nights of student films in DeKalb. This year’s festival marks the 23rd installment of the event, which was founded in 2001 by Dr. Laura Vazquez, a professor of media production and theory at NIU.

The screenings will take place on April 9th from 6 to 8 p.m. at Cole Hall’s Jameson Auditorium on campus and on April 10th from 7 to 10 p.m. at the historic Egyptian Theatre in downtown DeKalb. Both events are free and open to the public, offering attendees the chance to view a curated selection of short films, including animations.

With over 120 submissions received this year, 20 films have been chosen for screening. These films span three categories – Narrative Short, Documentary Short, and High School Short – with one film from each category set to receive a “Best in Show” award determined by a panel of judges. Winners will be announced on the final night of the festival and will receive a cash prize.

According to Vazquez, the quality of work submitted this year has been outstanding, showcasing creativity and original perspectives on a variety of topics. High school submissions, in particular, have stood out for their storytelling and insight, adding new voices to the festival lineup.

Attendees can also look forward to door prizes donated by local businesses during each night of the festival. For more information, interested individuals can visit the Reality Bytes website, follow the festival on Facebook, or contact the Reality Bytes team via email at

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