Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Film Studies

Reader 1

James Morrison

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© 2017 Adam Soll


For more than 30 years, the Sundance Film Festival has served as the preeminent venue for exhibiting and selling American independent films. Since the festival’s inception, however, the distinction between Hollywood and indie films has become increasingly unclear, and Sundance has been accused of selling out to the mainstream. On one hand, the Sundance Institute continues to support and incubate truly independent artists who otherwise may never get their films made; on the other hand, the festival that the institute puts on every year is full of A-list stars, corporate sponsors, and countless other examples of Hollywood elitism. The American independent cinema is as vibrant in 2017 as ever, and new powerful players such as Netflix and Amazon who seemed to enter the scene overnight are now investing a great deal of money in the production and acquisition of Sundance films. Though it may seem counterintuitive, 2017’s edition of the festival proves that the presence of these massive corporations and Hollywood stars fosters and facilitates the creation and celebration of American independent film.