Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


School of Journalism and Broadcasting

Document Type



Robert Redford created the Sundance Institute with the intention of helping filmmakers outside of the Hollywood system hone their craft with assistance from established industry professionals. Today, the Sundance Film Festival, held every year in January, provides an opportunity for independent filmmakers to sell their films to distribution companies and get their name out to executives in Hollywood. Through research of the festival’s history and content analysis of the most popular films from the last twenty years of the festival, I argue that the festival has become increasingly more commercial and that the films purchased for distribution share similar characteristics to each other in large part because major Hollywood studios and distributors have caused a change at the festival and are now dictating what audiences want to see.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Ted Hovet