Hey guys, remember that movie where the guy actually didn't end up getting the girl? 500 Days of Summer? That movie debuted at Sundance Film Festival. Remember the movie where the guy did get the girl? The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? That movie's a product of 20th Century Fox Studios.
Watching Walter Mitty was like eating McDonald's, an easy and predictable way to fill up (see Kurt Vonnegut's analysis of traditional plotlines). 20th Century Fox and other immense production companies regurgitate the same few movie plots which fuel the monotonous, complacent, button-pushing crowds. Sundance Film Festival is an international event drawing in established and upcoming actors and directors, shining light on cinema which might not have been recognized by broader audiences had they not been selected over many other great stories submitted each year.
Some now familiar films to emerge into popular culture have origins in the Sundance Film Festival. Movies like Man On Wire, Donnie Darko, 28 Days Later, and Resevoir Dogs. Personally, the festival used to hold a stigma as being home to the obscure and catering to the hip crowd (Wes Anderson?) but many would be surprised to hear that these famous features launched from an independent beginning.