NIU's Reality Bytes Film Festival Digs Into Politically Charged Topics

Apr 8, 2019

Northern Illinois University's student-run film festival hits the big screen this week.

Krystal Termini is a spokesperson for the Reality Bytes Independent Student Film Festival. She says her class chose 17 films out of dozens of entries.

“Each week [during class] we watched about 10 films,” Termini explained. “And then each 10 films that we watched, we broke those down into ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘maybe.’”

Once they watched all of the submissions, they revisited their votes to make sure they agreed on the final choices.

The time limit for each film is 30 minutes, some as short as two-and-a-half minutes in length.

A film which stood out to her came from Finland.

“I personally like the foreign films because I find them more interesting to see what students overseas are experiencing,” Termini said. “Which is actually a lot like what we're experiencing here in America.”

It’s about sexual harassment at a school.

“It happens in the school, but it's also politically charged,” Termini said. “So it's kind of two worlds combined, that you usually don't see in film.”

There are a pair of films from NIU students and Termini says there was no home field advantage in the judging.

“The stories that they tell are so compelling that they had to be in the festival-- we had to show the audience the stories,” Termini said.

One is about students navigating changes with the DACA program.

“I guess I never really realized that we have so many of those students who go to NIU,” Termini said. “And I never realized how this is hitting them so close to home.”

The other is about first generation college students.

The event is free and open to the public.

She says the goal is to engage the audience with new ideas.

“I just hope [the audience] is wowed by the kind of talent that these kids have around the country and around the globe,” Termini said. “We're not just kids who are sitting in classrooms, taking notes and listening to lectures. We are going out there and getting our hands dirty and really trying to make our own content."

Want to go?

Times : April 9-10 at 9 p.m. / April 11 at 8 p.m.

Location: Cole Hall

The event is sponsored by the school's Department of Communication.