18th Annual

Reality Bytes Independent Student Film Festival

April 09, 2019 to April 11, 2019

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Film Market
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Northern Illinois Univeristy
Department of Communication
Watson Hall 213
DeKalb IL 60115-2865
Phone: 815-753-7107
Fax: 815-753-7109

CLOSED FOR THE SEASON • Information may be outdated. Add this event to your Watch List and set a Remind-Me if you want to be notified when the next Call For Entries is posted.

Short Documentary
Filmmakers may submit documentaries on any subject, so long as they are under 30 minutes and were produced while a student.
Short Fiction
Filmmakers may submit short fiction films on any subject, so long as they are under 30 minutes and were produced while a student.
High School
We will accept documentary or fiction films that are under 30 minutes in length and produced while enrolled in grades 9-12.


Reality Bytes is a yearly festival sponsored by Northern Illinois University’s Department of Communication. It is designed to allow high school, college and graduate students to competitively screen their films!


The Reality Bytes Film Festival was established in 2001 by Laura Vazquez, professor of media production and theory at Northern Illinois University. Vazquez serves as director of the festival, which was created to give high school and college students the opportunity to competitively screen their work.


Laura Vazquez; Paul Redmann; Randy Caspersen (Filmmaker); kadin carter



* On-line screeners are required

Reality Bytes Independent Student Film Festival prefers online entries submitted via Withoutabox.com, which provides cost-saving, paperless submission to film festivals around the world. Withoutabox’s internet-only submission platform features online applications via one master entry form, online fee payments, press kits, and use of Secure Online Screeners, an economical, eco-friendly, and secure alternative to traditional hard-copy DVD submissions. Fill out one master entry form and take advantage of quick entry, extended deadlines, and powerful submission management tools.

* Pre-screening on-line entries are required.
* Screening entries must be digital files.
* A clear and current photocopy of the filmmaker’s student ID(s) or a signed statement from a school official printed on school letterhead stating that the filmmaker was a student when he/she made the film may be required.
* A short synopsis of the entry.
* A short bio of the filmmaker(s).

The Reality Bytes Film Festival is open to U.S. and International students enrolled in (or recently graduated from) high school, or an accredited college or university. There is no limit to the number of entries a filmmaker can submit but each entry requires a separate entry fee. The films may not be more than thirty (30) minutes in length, produced more than two (2) years prior to submission, or have been previously submitted to Reality Bytes Film Festival.

Films may fall into two categories (Short Documentary or Short Fiction) and can encompass any genre. Films with mature content will be considered. All entries, regardless of production cost or budget, are evaluated on the basis of originality of concept, technical production skill, and creativity in execution.


Submission of an entry gives Reality Bytes Film Festival permission to show the work at the annual Festival only. The winning films, the winners’ names, the title of their entries, and the names of their schools will be posted on the Reality Bytes website. Filmmakers are responsible for securing clearances or legal permission for the use of any copyrighted musical, cinematic, or literary materials. Please note that upon entering Reality Bytes Film Festival, you are granting Northern Illinois University the right to reproduce or utilize any and all portions of your entry for promotional purposes for the current festival only. Submission of an entry to Reality Bytes does not guarantee that a work will be shown at the Festival. Reality Bytes reserves the right to refuse to screen any film at the festival.