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The Sundance Film Festival

The Biggest Independent Film Festival In the U.S


The Sundance Film Festival
Sundance Institute
Founded in 1978 by Robert Redford, The Sundance Film Festival is the world's largest showcase for independent film. In recent years, the festival has grown from a small informal fest into an enormous market place, attracting A-list stars appearing in small films, celebrity appearances at corporate sponsored parties, and an influx of major entertainment industry magnets. While the festival continues to champion small films by unknown filmmakers, Sundance has recently become know for its cross-over hits, including the mega hit Little Miss Sunshine (2006).

The Sundance Film Festival takes place each January in the winter resort town of Park City, Utah. The festival is considered to be the premier showcase for new work from independent filmmakers. Advance ticket sales are available online at the Sundance box office early in January.


The Sundance Film Festival was founded in 1978 in Salt Lake City in an effort to attract more filmmakers to Utah. Chaired by actor and filmmaker Robert Redford along with Sterling Van Wagenen and John Earle, the festival's original goal was to showcase the potential of independent film. In the festival's early years, the festival presented a series of retrospectives and filmmaker panel discussions. From the inception, however, Sundance featured a program of films made outside the Hollywood system.

In 1981, the festival moved to Park City, Utah. In 1984-85, the now well-established Sundance Institute, headed by Sterling Van Wagenen, took over management of the film festival.

Robert Redford, a Utah resident, was the festival's inaugural chairman. Having his name attached to the festival, which was named after his role in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, helped the festival obtain media recognition.

The festival has changed over the decades from a low-profile venue for small-budget films to a veritable media extravaganza. Hollywood stars now populate the films (think Jennifer Aniston's star turn in Nicole Holofcener's 2006 Friends With Money). The emergence of independent films that are produced by subsidiaries of the major studios also became common place, in addition to the chaos of paparazzi chasing stars after hours and luxury-goods company sponsors showering gifts to the A-List stars.

2009 marked the 25th anniversary of the Sundance Film Festival.

The Sundance Competition

The festival comprises competitive sections for American and international dramatic and documentary films, both feature-length films and short films, and a group of non-competitive showcase sections, including the New Frontier, Spectrum, and Park City @ Midnight.

It is considered an enormous honor to be selected by the Sundance committee. Films that screen at Sundance frequently receive distribution and go onto to have successful theatrical runs, like these films picked up in 2008.

Sundance Award Winners

Tips For Sundance Film Festival Audiences

Notable Films That Emerged From The Sundance Film Festival

Coverage of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival

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