Program Categories


U.S. Documentary Competition

From human rights to popular culture, these 16 films confront the subjects that define our time. Stylistic diversity and rigorous filmmaking distinguish these new American documentaries.

U.S. Dramatic Competition

For more than 25 years, the Dramatic Competition has offered a first look at groundbreaking new voices in American independent film. Fueled by fierce creativity and vision, these 16 films are guaranteed to leave a lasting impact on the next generation of cinema.

World Cinema Documentary Competition

Made by some of the most courageous and extraordinary filmmakers working today, these films from around the world poignantly examine issues that range from the personal to the universal.

World Cinema Dramatic Competition

From all corners of the globe, these emerging filmmaking talents offer fresh perspectives and inventive styles. We present these exceptional works as a way to honor the independent spirit in filmmakers everywhere.

Shorts Programs

Limited only by run time, and driven by innovation and experimentation, short films transcend the rules of conventional storytelling. From cutting-edge animation to the best in Native and documentary cinema, these Shorts Programs call out filmmaking's most original imaginations.

Animation Spotlight

Whether executed by pen or by software, in 2-D or 3-D, the world of animated films remains an ever-expanding alternate universe for storytelling. Finely wrought by diligent artists, Animation Spotlight proves that remarkable filmmaking is sculpted by the imagination.

Out of Competition

Presented by Entertainment Weekly

The Premieres program showcases some of the most highly anticipated dramatic films of the coming year. Catch world premieres and the latest work from established directors at the Sundance Film Festival before they create a splash at local theatres.

Documentary Premieres

Created to highlight the growing impact and popularity of documentaries in our world today, Documentary Premieres presents moving new films about big subjects or by master filmmakers that show the power of the form.


The Spotlight section is a tribute to the cinema we love. Presenting films that have dazzled audiences at film festivals around the globe, we are confident you'll love them, too.


NEXT films stretch limited resources to create impactful art. < = > (less than equals greater than) is our speak for creativity that transcends limitations. Although these films share a Festival category, there is nothing categorical about them. By nature they embody the spirit of independent filmmaking.

New Frontier

New Frontier celebrates experimentation and the convergence of film, art, and new media technology as an emerging hotbed for cinematic innovation. This program highlights work that pushes the limits of traditional aesthetics and narrative structures of filmmaking and presents cinematic storytelling in theatres, gallery spaces, and other surprising ways at the Festival.

Park City at Midnight

Raucous, rowdy, and rebellious; softies need not enter. Park City at Midnight is for the hard-core film lovers who get so engrossed in a cinematic experience they don't even notice it's tomorrow. From horror flicks to comedies to works that defy any genre, these unruly films will keep you edge-seated and wide awake.

From the Collection

Rediscover classic works of independent cinema as the Sundance Film Festival presents a film from the vaults of the Sundance Collection at UCLA. A unique archive devoted to preserving indie film, the Collection exists not only to save important works that would otherwise disappear but also to make them accessible to new audiences and show them as they were intended to be seen: on the big screen. Formed in partnership with the UCLA Film and Television Archive and growing through the support of donor companies and individual filmmakers, the Collection now contains more than 800 films.