Dancing with the Sun in Utah

This time of year, amid the glitz and glam of the Hollywood awards shows, you always hear about the Sundance Film Festival. But what exactly is this festival, and why does it exist?

Do folks dance around in their swimwear under the sun amidst the snow covered terrain while watching repeats of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films…?

Do the organizers play Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid over and over and let the audience drink heavily and throw beads…?

Uh… no.

Simply put, it is a yearly event for independent American and international filmmakers to showcase their films. These are individuals outside of the giant Hollywood film machine that are being given a chance for more public and industry exposure.

The inaugural year for the event was in 1978 as the US Film Festival. In 1985 the Sundance Institute took over management of the festivities and it has since flourished.

Has this venue for “indy” films had any effect on the industry?

Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Jim Jarmusch and Steven Soderbergh might think so, just to name a few. Not to mention audiences that have seen Reservoir Dogs, The Blair Witch Project, El Mariachi, Napoleon Dynamite and Clerks.