But what really happens to the winners?
Well, in a nutshell, some of the big winners don't rake in a lot of dollars at the box office, while many movies that are screened at the festival go on to make money and win other honors.
Last year's festival opened Jan. 19, 2006, with a screening of "Friends With Money," written and directed by Nicole Holofcener and featuring an ensemble cast that included Jennifer Aniston, Scott Caan, Joan Cusack, Catherine Keener and Frances McDormand.
The closing film on Jan. 27 was "Alpha Dog," written and directed by Nick Cassavetes and starring Emile Hirsch, Justin Timberlake, Ben Foster, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Willis and Sharon Stone. The story was inspired by true events and the life of Jesse James Hollywood, a suburban drug dealer who became one of the youngest men ever on the FBI's most wanted list.
One of last year's big winners was Christopher Quinn's "God Grew Tired of Us," which follows three Sudanese boys adjusting to life in the United States after the bloody civil war in their homeland. It received both the jury prize and audience award for U.S. documentaries.
Also taking a top prize at last year's Sundance Film Festival was the Hispanic teen drama "Quinceanera." Starring Emily Rios in a striking film debut as a girl ostracized by her family after she becomes pregnant shortly before her 15th birthday, "Quinceanera" offers a culture-clash portrait of Los Angeles' Echo Park area, traditionally a Hispanic neighborhood that has become a trendy enclave.
"Quinceanera" which closed the New York International Latino Film Festival on July 29, 2006, in New York, opened in limited release Aug. 2. The film, written and directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, won the Audience Award and the Dramatic Grand Jury Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.
Also at last year's Sundance fest, the dramatic directing award went to Dito Montiel for "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints," which also received a special jury prize for best ensemble performance.
"A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" had its New York premiere Sept. 18, 2006. It's due out on DVD Feb. 27, 2007.
Another festival highlight last year was the U.S. premiere of "Kinky Boots," directed by Julian Jarrold and starring Joel Edgerton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nick Frost and Sarah-Jane Potts. It's a romantic comedy about a small town shoe factory where people find new ways to manufacture their product to survive and adapt.
"Thank You For Smoking" also premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. A satirical comedy directed and written by Jason Reitman, the movie follows the machinations of Big Tobacco's chief spokesman, who manages "spin" on behalf of cigarettes while trying to remain a role model for his 12-year-old son.
"Lucky Number Slevin," which also premiered at Sundance last year, is about what happens when a case of mistaken identity lands a man in the middle of a murder being plotted by one of New York City's crime bosses.
2Finally, it wasn't the movie everyone was talking about last year at Sundance, but it's certainly in the spotlight now: "Little Miss Sunshine," about a family who take a cross-country trip in their VW bus, determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant.
In addition, "Little Miss Sunshine" is on the list of the Top 10 Films of 2006, as determined by the National Board of Review.